Leaders Join Together to Accomplish Statute of Limitations Child Sexual Abuse Reform Package

(HARRISBURG) – Today Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati (R-25), Representative Mark Rozzi (D-126) and Representative Jim Gregory (R-80) announced their agreement to work together to ensure child sexual abuse reform legislation reaches the Governor’s desk.

There are currently four bills in the Senate that will address the four recommendations of the 40th grand jury report. These bills include House Bill 962 (Rozzi), House Bill 963 (Gregory), House Bill 1051 (Stephens) and House Bill 1171 (Toohil).  The legislators emphasized the importance of passing these four measures as they are currently written.

This package of bills will address all four recommendations of the grand jury:

  • Eliminates the criminal statute of limitations for sexually abusing children.
  • Creates a two-year “civil window” for child sex abuse victims who couldn’t file lawsuits before.
  • Clarifies the penalties for a continuing failure to report child abuse.
  • Prohibits “non-disclosure” agreements regarding cooperation with law enforcement.

Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati (R-25): “Victims’ compensation funds that have been set up by the dioceses in Pennsylvania have helped many victims as they attempt to move forward, however it is clear that these funds cannot help everyone and more work must be done. I have expressed my commitment to working with my colleagues to address the House bills currently in the Senate pertaining to child sexual abuse. I thank Senator Lisa Baker and Senator John DiSanto for advancing these measures out of their committees today.  The full Senate will be voting on these important bills later this week. I am grateful for the willingness of all parties to come to the table to ensure this important package of constitutionally sound bills reaches the Governor’s desk.” 

Representative Mark Rozzi (D-126): “From day one I’ve fought relentlessly to provide victims of child sex abuse with the justice they deserve. The path to statutes of limitation reform has been challenging and ongoing for over 15 years.  I was the first legislator to get a comprehensive reform bill passed in the House in 2016 and again in 2018. With the bipartisan and bicameral commitment between myself, Sen. Scarnati and Rep. Gregory to pass my prospective SOL HB 962 and Rep. Gregory’s HB 963 by the end of the year, I am optimistic that a historic moment for all victims of childhood sexual abuse in Pennsylvania…past, present and future…is imminent.”

Representative Jim Gregory (R-80): “Victims often spend far too much time living with shame and guilt. As elected leaders, I believe we must do everything we can to give victims a voice against their abusers. I speak for myself, and victims everywhere when I express my gratitude to Senate Leadership and Senator Lisa Baker for moving the constitutional amendment plan forward and wanting to give the voters of Pennsylvania the ability to speak up on behalf of victims.” 

MEDIA CONTACTS:

Senator Scarnati – Kate Flessner kflessner@pasen.gov 717-787-7084

Representative Gregory – Mike Straub mstraub@pahousegop.com 717-260-6397

Representative Rozzi – Pam Oddo poddo@pahouse.net 717-783-3290