Sexual Abuse Bill Should Include Civil Window, Victims’ Fund: Sen. Dan Laughlin
October 15, 2018
For many pundits and critics, the legacy of the 2017-18 legislative session will be determined by the final outcome of Senate Bill 261, a measure that addresses the criminal and civil statutes of limitations in cases of childhood sexual assault.
I want to stress that as the Senate again takes up this bill, the welfare and redress of victims remains the focus of this legislation. That has been the case ever since we unanimously approved and sent the bill to the House of Representatives on Feb. 1, 2017.
Unfortunately, it languished there for 20 months. We could have held public hearings to determine the best path forward if the House had sent it back in a more timely fashion. Instead, we were given a handful of days to consider the many ramifications of the amendments made by the House.
Anyone who has taken the time, as I have, to read through the grand jury report detailing the horrendous crimes that occurred in the Catholic Church over several decades knows that this has to be made right.
I have met with Sen. Joseph Scarnati, the president pro-tempore of the Senate and prime sponsor of Senate Bill 261, on several occasions over the past month and I’ve talked to many constituents and legislators. To be sure, there is a wide spectrum of thoughts about how to “make this right” for victims.
I strongly believe the final version of Senate Bill 261 that is sent to the governor must include the four provisions detailed in the grand jury report: