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Push For Child Sex Abuse Bills In Harrisburg

(Victims and advocates appear before a Pennsylvania House committee on Monday. Credit: Tony Romeo)

(Victims and advocates appear before a Pennsylvania House committee on Monday. Credit: Tony Romeo)

(Capitol dome, Harrisburg, Pa.   File photo) Tony Romeo
  Tony Romeo is Harrisburg bureau chief for KYW Newsradio...
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By Tony Romeo

HARRISBURG (CBS) –  In the wake of the Penn State scandal, child sex abuse victims and victim advocates told their stories before a gathering of state lawmakers on Monday as they continue their push for child predator legislation.

“As a result of these recent events at Penn State, child abuse survivors are seeking and needing an opportunity to share their experiences,” said Dennis O’Brien, outgoing Philadelphia Republican and chairman of the House Children and Youth Committee.

The committee provided that opportunity. Among those who appeared was former Philadelphia Eagle Al Chesley, who says it was only about five years ago that he came to grips with being a survivor of the sexual assaults he suffered as child at the hands of a Washington, DC police officer.

“They actually paid me to go kill people on the field. Thank God I had that outlet because I was an angry man,” Chesley said. “Up until five years ago, I thought surviving meant making it through Dick Vermeil’s training camp.”

Arthur Baselice said his son was sexually abused by two clerics at Philadelphia’s Archbishop Ryan High School. He believes his son took his own life because, in part, the courts told him he had no right to be heard.

“What does the number of victims have to rise to for the courts and legislators to realize that they need to be heard?” Baselice asked.

Victims and victim advocates say lawmakers need to further relax the statutes of limitations on child sex abuse. In addition to that legislation, other bills have been or will be introduced to increase requirements for people to report child abuse and increase the penalties for failing to do so.

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