Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court Rules Against Survivors, SNAP Responds

Today, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled the names of 11 clergy – who were included in the most recent Pennsylvania Grand Jury report but not specifically named – can remain hidden.

This ruling has only made clearer the desperate and immediate need for statute of limitations reform, in Pennsylvania and elsewhere. We know that people who were sexually abused, especially those who were abused as children, are unlikely to report their abuse for many years. As they currently exist, statutes of limitations only prevent justice for the victims that have finally come forward and – as today’s ruling demonstrates – prevents information that might prevent future cases of abuse from getting out.

If bishops in Pennsylvania are serious about their pledges for “full transparency,” they should disclose these names and allegations regardless of the court ruling. There should be a moral imperative to do the right thing, not a legal impetus.

It is clear that the only path forward for victims in Pennsylvania is via the opening of a civil window. State Representative Mark Rossi has introduced what he calls the “Real Deal” bill that would open a window and allow sex abuse survivors their chance at a day in court. We encourage anyone in Pennsylvania who cares about the prevention of sex crimes to call your state representative or senator today and urge them to support Rep. Rozzi’s “real deal” bill and give survivors in Pennsylvania a real shot at justice.

CONTACT: Zach Hiner, Executive Director (zhiner@snapnetwork.org, 517-974-9009)

(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for 30 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)


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