SNAP Philadelphia Encouraged by Reform Bills in PA Legislature
This month, Pennsylvania has continued the fight to reform child sex crime laws as House lawmakers approved two key reform measures and freshman Senators in the other house introduced a third counter bill aimed at similar purposes.
The House overwhelmingly approved two bills that respectively call for the elimination of the criminal statute of limitations involving child sex crimes, and call for a constitutional amendment that would lead to a revival of expired statute of limitations. House Bill 962, sponsored by Rep. Mark Rozzi, D-Berks, would also remove sovereign immunity in civil claims, meaning that if an institution has known about child sex crimes, it would be held responsible.
On the Senate side, S.B. 540 would lift the statute of limitations for adults who were sexually abused at any age. The Senate bill calls for the abolishment of the criminal statute of limitations and a two-year revival window of expired statute of limitations. The proposal also calls for a six-month delay to allow for the completion of compensation funds already being processed.
"It is important that survivors and advocates keep informed of all measures that are moving this issue forward,” said Mike McDonnell, SNAP Philadelphia Leader. “The only remedy to exposing predators and the institutions who enable them is through retroactivity, a ‘window to justice.’ It is also vital the survivors remain unified, keeping the conversation alive and in front of key legislators. We can never take our eye from the one institution that stands to lose the most in this fight and that is the Catholic Diocese of Pennsylvania. The lobbying arm of the Pennsylvania Catholic conference is present daily in the halls of the capital, so must our voices."
If any survivor is feeling confused about the legislation that has been introduced, please feel free to contact Mike McDonnell at 267-261-0578
(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)