Rendell Signs Broader Laws on Child-Sex Abuse

Philadelphia Inquirer
December 1, 2006

Harrisburg - Gov. Rendell on Wednesday signed a package of bills intended to toughen penalties for sex offenders who prey on children, including a measure that would make changes recommended by a Philadelphia grand jury that investigated abuse by Roman Catholic priests.

The legislation would give alleged victims of child-sex crimes until their 50th birthdays to file criminal complaints, 20 years longer than current law allows. Employers and supervisors could be held criminally liable if they know of alleged abuse by employees who care for children but they fail to stop it, and caregivers would have to report suspected abuse regardless of whether the victim reports it.

The grand jury recommended legislative reforms in a September 2005 report that documented alleged assaults on minors by more than 60 priests in the Philadelphia Archdiocese since 1967. The report also accused church leaders of covering up the abuse.

The archdiocese has said it had already adopted many of the bill's provisions, but would review its policies and practices to ensure that they complied fully with the new legislation.


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