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New Law Extends Eligibility To File Sex Abuse Lawsuit

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A new Pennsylvania, law, if passed would allow provide more time for child victims of sexual abuse to file a sex abuse lawsuit.

Pennsylvania House Bill 1947 was recently approved and is on its way to the senate. If passed, this law would abolish the Pennsylvania statute of limitations for criminal sex abuse lawsuits and extend the civil statute by 20 years. Under the current law, victims have until they were 30 to file a sex abuse lawsuit against their abuser.  The revised law would allow victims to file a claim until their 50th birthday.

During recent years, child sex abuse lawsuits have plagued Pennsylvania courts. Famous cases include the Jerry Sandusky Penn State sandal, the Catholic Dioceses of Philadelphia, and the indictment of Franciscan Friars in Western Pennsylvania, reported News Herald.   Other victims of the aforementioned accusers previously barred by the statute of limitations could be eligible to file a claim, if the law is passed.

“You have given the children of this commonwealth hope,” said Rep. Mark Rozzi) an abuse victim, who sponsored the bill in a Philly.com article.   The expanded statute of limitations gives new opportunity to abuse victims struggling to come forward. According to the article, it can take decades for a victim to acknowledge and share the details of their abuse.

Sometimes when one survivor comes forward, he or she causes a ripple effect which prompts others to acknowledge and report the abuse.  The Pennsylvania attorney general began investigating Jerry Sandusky after a teenage boy filed a sexual assault complaint against the assistant coach in 2009.  Two years later, he was charged with 48 counts of sexual abuse by 10 boys over a 15-year period, reported the LACASA Center.

If enacted, this law would not only apply to future victims. It would be retroactive for child sex abuse victims between 30 and 50 years of age and allow them to come forward and file a child sex abuse lawsuit.

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