PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — For victims of child sexual abuse, the emotional suffering sometimes never ends. But new legislation introduced in the Pennsylvania General Assembly would give victims their day in court.
State Reps. Louise Williams Bishop, D-Philadelphia, and Mike McGeehan, D-Philadelphia, introduced bills that would remove the statute of limitations on criminal action and civil lawsuits for child sex abuse. Their measures would also open a two year window for victims whose statutes of limitations has expired to pursue legal action against their abusers. Effectively, child sex abuse victims would get a chance to confront their abusers in court, even if that abuse happened decades ago.
Both the 2005 and 2011 grand jury reports about child sexual abuse within the Archdiocese of Philadelphia recommended abolishing the statute of limitations and creating the legal window for victims. In addition, victim advocacy organizations commend the measures as a necessary step towards justice for child sexual abuse victims.
Similar bills have been introduced before in the General Assembly, but the legislature was not able to pass them into law. Victim advocacy groups hope this time is different.
Reported by Oren Liebermann, CBS 3