Partisan conflict is hampering the PA’s proposed lifting of the statute of limitations on sex abuse cases

Child sex abuse survivors on Monday urged Pennsylvania lawmakers to proceed with opening a two-year window in which to file otherwise outdated lawsuits over their claims, but a partisan row in the legislature kept the proposal at bay, with no resolution was in sight.

Amid the standoff, survivors renewed their calls for the legislature to pass either version of the measure — one that would give voters the final say in the form of a constitutional amendment, the other legislation that would also require the signature of Democratic Gov. Josh Shapiro .

At a rally on the Capitol’s outside steps, Amish, Mennonites and Plainspeople were among those who spoke of the abuse they had endured and urged people to go through the window.

PENNSYLVANIA HOUSE passes bill to lift statute of limitations in child sexual abuse cases

“Here we fight again for our rights as victims and survivors of childhood sexual abuse who have waited many, many years for the opportunity to seek justice, to find out the truth, to hold our abusers to account, to hold institutions to account” , said Rep. Mark Rozzi, a Berks County Democrat who has campaigned for the legislation for years.

A 2018 grand jury report found that hundreds of Roman Catholic priests in Pennsylvania had abused more than 1,000 children — and possibly many more — since the 1940s, and that senior church officials had systematically covered up the abuse.

Protest against sexual abuse at the PA Capitol

A bill that would provide a two-year waiver of the statute of limitations in Pennsylvania for child sexual abuse cases has stalled in the legislature over partisan disagreements over Republican priorities underlying the proposal. (AP Photo/Brooke Schultz)

Following the report, the Diocese of Pennsylvania established compensation funds and made payments to the victims as part of the Legislature’s legislative initiative.

Both chambers passed their own version of the measure that would temporarily lift the statute of limitations for sex abuse crimes, and the House of Representatives voted to do so in February with bipartisan support.

Alabama measure to extend statute of limitations for victims of childhood sexual abuse remains in committee

The Republican-majority Senate bundled the measure with two initiatives supported by the Republican Party: expanding voter ID requirements and lowering the threshold for invalidating state regulations enforced by a governor’s administration. The three constitutional amendments were approved by the Senate in a near-bipartisan vote in January.

The House of Representatives last month picked up the Senate’s version of the bill, removing priorities set by the Republican Party. The bill in its current form would now need to be voted on in the Senate before it could be presented to voters. The Senate has shown no desire to scale back its package of proposed amendments.

Kate Flessner, a Senate Republican spokeswoman, said her group “remains open to discussions about how to implement all three major constitutional amendments originally included in her version of the bill.”


It presents another hurdle for the effort, which lawmakers cleared with bipartisan support more than two years ago, but due to mishandling on the part of the state, it never got to voters and lawmakers had to start the process all over again.

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