Wednesday, November 20, 2019
For three years, the Pennsylvania legislature has been at odds over extending the statute of limitations for child sexual abuse. The House has repeatedly passed reform bills; the Senate has not. Currently victims of child sexual abuse have until age 30 to file civil suits and age 50 for the filing of criminal charges. There has been widespread agreement about extending those time periods, but there has been conflict over a retroactive window to allow victims to bring claims that are time-barred under current law.
This year, the House has again passed bills, and Governor Wolf has indicated he would sign them. Yesterday, the Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously passed the bills, clearing the way for a floor vote this week. The bills, now expected to pass in the full Senate, would:
- Leave a person who commits serious sexual abuse against a child forever exposed to potential criminal prosecution, giving that crime the lifetime tail that now applies to only the most serious of crimes like criminal homicide. It also expands the window for childhood victims to file civil suits against their abusers to their 55th birthday.
- Amend the state constitution in a way that would allow victims of past childhood sexual abuse a two-year window to file civil suits against those that they say abused them, as well as any employers or institutions that might have attempted to sweep those abuses under the rug.
Pennlive has the story.