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House Votes to Support Victims
10/10/2018
By Rep. Steve Mentzer (R-Lititz)
In a historic, bipartisan vote, the House passed legislation that would empower victims of sexual abuse by eliminating the criminal statute of limitations for prosecutions of sexual abuse of minors and extending the civil statute of limitations for lawsuits alleging sexual abuse of minors until the victim reaches 50 years of age.

The bill, which I voted in favor of, would also waive sovereign and governmental immunity for claims.

Among its most notable provisions, the House voted to open a two-year statute of limitations window for those victims claiming abuse who are beyond the age of 50.

According to statistics, one-third of victims of child sex abuse disclose the incidents when they are still children, while another one-third never disclose. For the remaining one-third, studies show that the average age to disclose is 52.

This legislation, Senate Bill 261, includes several of the recommendations outlined by the state attorney general after the August release of a report alleging widespread coverup of sexual abuse within the Catholic Church across the state and dating back generations. The bill now goes back to the Senate for concurrence.

Another one of the recommendations -- which would increase penalties for mandated reporters who continue to fail to report suspected child abuse and broaden the “continuing course of action” provision -- was reported out of the House Children and Youth Committee and now heads to the House floor.
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