Regarding your report that Catholic school officials knew about child abuse allegations against teacher John Merzbacher, the public needs to be aware of how the archdiocese affects public policy to the detriment of child victims ("Catholic officials knew of teacher's abuse, court files indicate," Nov. 25).

I am a long-standing child advocate who has testified since 1985 on many child protection bills, including Maryland's child abuse reporting and civil statute of limitations laws concerning child sexual abuse.

These laws remain weak in large part because the archdiocese successfully lobbies legislators against improvements in the law that other states have enacted.

It is disingenuous for such a powerful institution to say it now does everything possible to protect children, when at the same time it is working year after year in the legislature to do just the opposite — that is, to protect its own interests at the expense of vulnerable children and victims.

Ellen Mugmon, Elkridge