Legal Changes May Be Coming for PA Church Abuse Victims

After the release of the report about multiple pedophile priests in the state, many legislators hope to see some real change to the statues involved with child sex abuse. Legislators are looking to change both civil and criminal law to benefit victims.

State Representative Mark Rozzi, who himself claims to be a victim of pedophile priests, is working to convince the senate to include language in an upcoming bill that would mean victims might have two years from the passage of new laws to file civil suits against abusers. It would essentially give the victims two additional years they didn’t previously have.

The same bill would also alter the statute of limitations in terms of criminal prosecutions in such cases. In fact, the bill would completely eliminate it, allowing prosecutors to file charges the moment the abuse is uncovered. The goal of all of the lawmakers involved is to get the bill to the governor’s desk and get it signed so stricter penalties will be in place for those who choose to abuse children. Lobbyists both for and against the bill may stand in the way of its passage. Lobbyists against the bill cite the fact that the Catholic church has declared bankruptcy in several settings because of child sex abuse cases. Lobbyists for the bill believe victims need justice, no matter what the time line.

The action is spurred by the somewhat shocking release of a 900 page report detailing the actions of a number of priests against more than 1,000 victims over the course of 70 years. The report concluded with a recommendation for the creation of the additional two year window for those victims who had been unable to file suit in the past.

Victims in cases like these don’t just need legal prosecution, as the report suggested. Many also need a helping hand, and often civil prosecution can do just that. To learn more about how to obtain justice as a victim of child sex abuse in this case or in any other, contact Paul today.