Fight over sexual abuse victims’ lawsuits returns to state Senate

Marc Levy
Associated Press
Pennsylvania Capitol building
(Photo by Liz Evans Scolforo)

HARRISBURG – Democratic lawmakers are attempting anew to give now-adult victims of child sexual abuse a reprieve from time limits in Pennsylvania law that prohibit them from suing perpetrators and institutions that may have covered it up.

Senate Democrats said Wednesday they’re introducing legislation that’s been propelled by child sexual abuse scandals, including in Pennsylvania’s Roman Catholic dioceses. The state House was scheduled later Wednesday to vote on similar legislation.

Last October, Senate Republicans blocked a House bill that sought to provide the victims a two-year window to sue. It’s still not clear whether the legislation can pass the Senate, and it’s opposed by Catholic bishops.

A years-long fight over the two-year window, however, has held up passage of legislation to eliminate the statute of limitations for child sexual abuse crimes.