Amended Sex Abuse Bill Clears Senate; HARRISBURG -- the State Senate Unanimously Passed a Bill Thursday That Would Overhaul Pennsylvania's Statute of Limitations for Child Sexual Abuse Cases. [Derived Headline]

By Mossbrook, Carley | Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, June 30, 2016 | Go to article overview

Amended Sex Abuse Bill Clears Senate; HARRISBURG -- the State Senate Unanimously Passed a Bill Thursday That Would Overhaul Pennsylvania's Statute of Limitations for Child Sexual Abuse Cases. [Derived Headline]


Mossbrook, Carley, Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review


HARRISBURG -- The state Senate unanimously passed a bill Thursday that would overhaul Pennsylvania's statute of limitations for child sexual abuse cases.

After weeks of debate and the removal of a key component of the bill, the Senate passed legislation that would remove the statute of limitations for criminal cases of child sexual abuse and extend the amount of time victims have to bring lawsuits against institutions.

Under current laws, criminal cases must be brought before the victim reaches age 50, and lawsuits against institutions must be filed before the victim turns 30. The bill would give victims until age 50 to bring a suit against institutions.

There is no age restriction to file a lawsuit against individuals who perpetrated the abuse.

The bill was originally introduced in the House, but some controversial changes were made earlier this week in the Senate Judiciary Committee that will volley it back to the House for concurrence.

An amendment, introduced by Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati, R-Jefferson County, removed a provision that would have allowed more time for some victims whose statutes of limitations for filing a lawsuit have expired. The provision was part of a bill approved by the House and pushed by Rep. Mark Rozzi, D-Berks County, who says he was raped by a priest as a teenager.

Scarnati's amendment passed 9-4, with those in the majority questioning the constitutionality of allowing a victim of sexual abuse to file a civil case against institutions after the statute of limitations expired.

"I am sorry we are not able to address the needs of survivors of past abuse," said Sen. Rob Teplitz, D-Dauphin County. "There is a reasonable debate over whether that would be constitutional."

The Pennsylvania Catholic Conference and the Insurance Federation of Pennsylvania, which represents for-profit insurers, had opposed the retroactivity provision. …

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