GOP Pa. House speaker calls window for sex abuse lawsuits ’a compromise’
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — The Republican speaker of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives said today his chamber is about to again take up proposed changes to the state’s limits on child sexual-abuse lawsuits, predicting enough support to pass a two-year window to allow victims with older claims to sue.
Speaker Mike Turzai called the two-year window “a compromise” compared with a competing proposal to retroactively eliminate all limits on lawsuits for victims of all ages.
Last month’s sweeping grand jury report on child sexual abuse in six of the state’s eight Roman Catholic dioceses also recommended a two-year window. The report found that 300 “predator priests” had abused more than 1,000 children over 70 years, and alleged church officials acted to cover up the attacks.
“Everybody empathizes with the victims of child sexual abuse. These victims have to live with these consequences the rest of their lives,” Turzai, of Allegheny County, told The Associated Press. “It’s important legislation, and I think the key is that the Senate and House have to find some agreement to get the bill to the governor’s desk.”
Pennsylvania law currently requires victims to sue before they turn 30, and limits criminal prosecutions to before the victims turn 50. State prosecutors said nearly all the abuse they identified during the lengthy grand jury occurred too long ago to produce new charges.