This is Brian & Noel. You can read their entire story here.
The #windowtojustice will pass the State House on Sept. 24.
As early as Sept. 25, Pennsylvania Senators will decide to either support child predators or children: there is no neutral ground.
Last month, a special Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report released by state Attorney General Josh Shapiro exposed at least seven decades of child sexual abuse perpetrated by priests in six Pennsylvania dioceses -- abuse that high-ranking officials in the Catholic church concealed. The report finds that more than 1,000 children were abused by approximately 300 priests and warns of “countless more.”
Pennsylvania’s statutes of limitations for sex abuse cases are woefully outdated, limiting civil suits to age 30, and criminal prosecutions to age 50. Research shows that the average age for most victims of childhood sex abuse to come forward is age 52, and roughly 1/3 take their abuse to the grave. ln effect, the statutes protect child predators and endanger children.
Survivors and advocates have worked tirelessly for over a decade to expose systemic child sex abuse in the Commonwealth and to urge greater access to justice for victims. The new grand jury report builds on the eight that preceded it across various institutions to definitively make the case for a two-year window to justice, during which victims can bring civil claims to court. State Representative Mark Rozzi, himself a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, intends to amend a senate bill with a window to justice, through the Rozzi amendment.
There are three reasons why supporting a window to justice is critical to ensuring your child’s safety:
A window identifies hidden child predators.
Predators don’t stop abusing until they’re caught or they die. By exposing child predators and naming them publicly, the law keeps today’s children and the generations that follow safe. This process already has proven successful in dozens of states that have reformed their statutes of limitation.
A window shifts the cost of abuse from the victims to the ones responsible for the abuse.
More victims will be empowered to come forward. Since the statewide grand jury was released, upwards of 1,000 calls have flooded the Attorney General’s clergy abuse hotline. This amendment gives ANY child sexual abuse survivor whose claims have expired a two-year window to justice, including victims of coaches, teachers, family, clergy, and scouts, among many others.
A window educates the public about the dangers of hidden predators and institutions endangering children.
The discovery tools of civil litigation are the only way to keep TODAY’S children safe. Survivors will have the opportunity to confront their abusers and the institutions complicit in covering up sexual crimes. ln doing so, the names of predatory pedophiles and the institutions that protect them will become public.
It’s unconscionable to think that there are some state senators who are not in support of the #windowtojustice. Some are hiding behind Catholic Church and insurance industry false logic, which propagates that the window is unconstitutional, bad public policy (or will bankrupt the Church). Experts have testified that the window does not violate due process in PA or on the federal level. It has been upheld in the highest courts of every state in which a retroactive window has been enacted. It should be left up to the PA Supreme Court to decide.
Call and email your local state senator today urging them to support statute of limitation reform and give childhood sexual abuse victims a window to justice.