State Lawmaker Wants to Change Law to Help Victims of Sexual Abuse
By Lauren Hensley
March 2, 2016
Tuesday, Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane announced the findings of a grand jury report. The report said 50 priests and church leaders committed sexual acts on hundreds of children over four decades.
For state Rep. Mark Rozzi of Berks County, it is a story he said he knows all too well. He lived his own childhood nightmare when he was sexually abused at the hands of a priest back in the 1983.
"I couldn't even speak about it until I was 39, for God's sake," said Rozzi.
Under law at that time, Rozzi only had five years to come forward for a criminal case and two years for a civil.
Now, victims have 50 years for a criminal case and 30 years for a civil one. But for the hundreds of alleged victims interviewed by a grand jury, time has run out time. Kane said none of the alleged criminal acts can be prosecuted.
"I would love to see people get outraged to the point that legislators have to finally act," Rozzi said.
For years Rozzi said he has been supporting legislation that would get rid of the statute of limitations. It would allow past victims up to the age of 50 to press criminal charges and create a two-year window for civil suits.
But it keeps getting shot down.
"I don't know how much information, how many grand jury testimonies, how many victims; we need for the legislature to take action. They are continuing to protect pedophiles and we have left them off the hook for it," Rozzi said.
6News contacted other area legislators to see how they felt about Rozzi's proposal.
State Rep. John McGinnis declined an on -camera interview but said over the phone he was wary about doing away with the statute of limitations. He said he wanted to review the grand jury report before issuing a formal statement. He said he plans on releasing one in the upcoming days.
Still, Kane is calling this an open investigation.