HARRISBURG—Rep. Todd Stephens (R-Montgomery) will join Attorney General Josh Shapiro, Bucks County District Attorney Matthew D. Weintraub and Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin R. Steele at a press conference to outline recommendations for addressing problems identified by the recent grand jury investigation into child abuse within the state archdiocese.
The press conference will be held Tuesday, Sept. 18, 10 a.m., at the attorney general’s office at 1000 Madison Ave. in Norristown.
Stephens will discuss legislation to increase the penalties for mandated reporters who fail to contact authorities in cases of suspected child abuse, as well as the move to remove the statute of limitations on child abuse cases to give victims the chance to file civil lawsuits.
“Many abuse victims have been intimidated into silence and never received proper justice,” Stephens said. “At the same time, we never fully held people responsible for failing to report the crimes they knew were happening.”
In 2014, Stephens’s legislation, House Bill 436, now Act 32 of 2014, to increase penalties for those mandated to report suspected child abuse who fail to do so. The bill raised the penalties for failing to report suspected child abuse from a misdemeanor of the third degree to as high as a felony of the second degree in some instances. Stephens will introduce legislation to make those penalties even tougher.
The grand jury’s 18-month investigation covered six dioceses within Pennsylvania including Allentown, Erie, Greensburg, Harrisburg, Pittsburgh and Scranton. The report detailed long periods of abuse and coverups. The grand jury examined more than 2 million documents, including reports the church kept hidden from the public.
Representative Todd Stephens
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: David Foster