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PA House Overwhelmingly Approves House Bill 1947 to Reform Child Sex Crime Laws

Pennsylvania is one step closer to opening the courthouse doors to a generation of victims of child sexual abuse who could not bring a lawsuit in the past due to expiration of the statute of limitations. This week, House Democrat Mark Rozzi sponsored and spearheaded the passage of his amendment to House Bill 1947 in the House which will allow any survivor of child sexual abuse who has not yet reached age 50 to seek civil justice and file a lawsuit against perpetrators of sexual abuse and other responsible parties which permitted the abuse. This is a change from the current civil statute of limitations which gives victims until age 30 to bring a civil lawsuit. Because many survivors of child sexual abuse do not typically come forward to report the abuse or even realize the effects of sexual abuse until later in their lives, this bill recognizes the need for a longer statute of limitations. If passed by the Senate and signed into law by the governor, this bill will not help all victims of abuse, but it will help many survivors seek justice and represents a step in the right direction which could pave the way for future amendments to help others.

HB 1947 also eliminates the criminal statute of limitations for sexual abuse crimes going forward and eliminates state law immunity for public schools which act in a grossly negligent manner in permitting the sexual abuse of children.

Soloff & Zervanos attorney Jeffrey Fritz, former president of the National Crime Victims Bar Association, has represented victims of sexual abuse who were victimized in hospitals, schools, universities, day care centers, youth sports groups, churches and in other institutional settings including successfully representing multiple victims of former Penn State football defense coach Jerry Sandusky. To find out your rights and how this bill will impact your right to seek civil or criminal justice, contact us at 215-392-4217, toll free at 800-724-2323 or through our website contact form.

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