HARRISBURG - April is National Child Abuse Awareness Month and today the House Judiciary Committee approved legislation known as the Pennsylvania Hidden Predator Act to help empower victims of child sexual abuse, said Rep. Rob Kauffman (R-Franklin), chairman of the committee.
The Pennsylvania Hidden Predator Act is comprised of House Bills 962
. House Bill 962, sponsored by Rep. Mark Rozzi (D-Berks), would change the civil statute of limitations for child sexual abuse, allowing childhood victims until age 55 to file suit, and provide for waivers of sovereign and governmental immunity relating to claims of childhood sexual abuse. It would also abolish the criminal statute of limitations for child sexual abuse moving forward. House Bill 963, sponsored by Rep. Jim Gregory (R-Blair), would amend the Pennsylvania Constitution to provide a two-year window in which civil lawsuits alleging childhood sexual abuse may be filed in court, notwithstanding any otherwise applicable statute of limitations defense.
“These bills have been introduced in direct response to the heinous crimes that have been revealed to have taken place within multiple archdioceses in Pennsylvania,” said Kauffman. “Many of the victims, who are now adults, have no tangible way to seek justice against their perpetrators since the window of time in which to bring charges has expired. These two bills would work to expand the time in which suits could be filed for all victims of child sexual abuse.”
The Hidden Predator Act is scheduled for a vote before the full House this week.
Other bills voted out of the committee included House Bill 854
, sponsored by Rep. Torren Ecker (R-Adams/Cumberland), which would ensure that the offense of strangulation is as fully incorporated into our body of laws as other similarly violent and threatening offenses. Also, House Bill 991
, sponsored by Rep. Wendi Thomas (R-Bucks), which would close a loophole in the Public Employee Pension Forfeiture Act so that all sex offenses found under Chapter 31 of Title 18 would require pension forfeiture by all public officials and public employees.
“The bills moved by the committee today are substantive bills that will better protect crime victims and hold perpetrators accountable,” said Kauffman. “I look forward to continuing my support of these measures as they come before the full House for a vote.”
Representative Rob Kauffman
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Tricia Lehman