A special session is being called by Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf that will hope to benefit victims of childhood sexual abuse.
Legislation would amend the state’s constitution and extend the timeline for victims to file civil actions against their abusers. Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf will be out of office in only a matter of days, but before Wolf’s time is up, he’s called for a special session with the intent of providing justice to survivors of childhood sexual abuse.
As current statutes of limitations stand in Pennsylvania, a victim of childhood sexual abuse has until age 55 to file a civil suit against parties involved. Prior to 2018, victims only had until age 30. The amendment written and proposed by State Representative Jim Gregory looks to give a new two-year window starting in 2023.
Current speaker of the house and a childhood sexual abuse survivor made his stance on the matter known.
“Let me be clear. As long as I am Speaker of the House of Representatives, the House will consider no other legislation until the general assembly passes the language of Representative Gregory’s constitutional amendment” said Mark Rozzi, Pennsylvania Speaker of the House.
A crime victims expert in Erie County says that it takes quite some time for victims to open up about their experiences, often times beyond the legal deadline.
“That may not happen for years after they’re assaulted, and they can talk about it. So, removing that statute of limitations and opening up a window to give everyone the opportunity to face their perpetrator in court is huge. To be able to provide that justice is huge.” Paul Lukach Executive Director of Crime Victim Center of Erie.
Supporters of the amendment say that they believe that incoming Governor Josh Shapiro will support this legislation.