Ron Johnson’s bizarre position on child-abuse victims

RON JOHNSON’S BIZARRE POSITION ON CHILD-ABUSE VICTIMS…. It’s been fairly obvious for a while that Ron Johnson (R), the strange far-right Senate candidate in Wisconsin this year, is hard to take seriously. On everything from economic policy to climate policy to Social Security, Johnson’s positions have varied between wrong and ridiculous.

Yet this one is shocking, even for a GOP Senate candidate.

[B]efore running for Senate, Johnson did have one prominent act of political participation. In January 2010, Johnson testified before the Wisconsin state legislature in opposition to the bipartisan Wisconsin Child Victims Act. The legislation, if passed, would alter Wisconsin law to eliminate the statute of limitations on civil suits for child abuse and allow a three-year window to bring suit for victims who were victimized before the bill. The legislation also specifies that the entities that can be sued would include not just individuals, but also a “corporation, business trust, limited liability company,” and other formal organizations that could be held accountable for the illegal behavior of their employees. As the bill’s authors write, “We believe that there should be no deadline on justice for child sexual abuse victims.”

But Johnson did not place protecting victims as his highest priority.

Clearly not. Johnson instead told policymakers, I” think it is extremely important to consider the economic havoc and the other victims [the Wisconsin Child Victims Act] would likely create.”

In other words, if victims of child abuse seek justice, it might interfere with the economy. It’s preferable, then, to make it harder for victims to go to court. In a dispute pitting victimized children and abusers, Johnson spoke out against a measure looking out for the former.

Jed Lewison added, “The issue here isn’t that just that Ron Johnson is opposing victims of predators — it’s that he’s doing so to defend the interests of a tiny elite. If he can’t even stand up for children — sexually abused children, in fact — who in their right mind believes he would stick up for the interests of everyday Wisconsin families?”

Making matters even worse, Joe Sudbay notes that Johnson served on the Green Bay Diocese Finance Council, which was being sued for its role in the sexual abuse of children at the time of his testimony, putting him in an awkward position — he urged state lawmakers to make it harder for victims to sue while at the same time helping a church at the center of an abuse scandal. (It’s unclear if the legislature was aware of the potential conflict of interest at the time of Johnson’s testimony.)

I don’t know if this is the kind of story that resonates with voters in Wisconsin, but it seems pretty awful.