Pa. House to take up sex-abuse law to expand victims’ rights


by Maria Panaritis, STAFF WRITER

HARRISBURG – With only days remaining in the legislative session, officials said Tuesday the Pennsylvania House intends to rewrite and send back to the Senate a contested child sex abuse bill that would give victims the right to sue for decades-old abuses.

Sometime next month, lawmakers plan to restore controversial language that the Senate removed from House Bill 1947 – a provision that had been strongly opposed by the Catholic Church and the insurance industry for potentially exposing private institutions to enormous financial liability.

Rep. Mark Rozzi (D., Berks) announced the chamber’s plans at an hourlong Capitol news conference attended by Republican attorney general nominee Sen. John Rafferty Jr. (R-Mongtomery), other state lawmakers, and leaders of organizations that work with child sexual-abuse victims.

Rozzi said House leadership had pledged to reject the Senate’s amended version and try a second time to change Pennsylvania law so that Rozzi and other former clergy abuse victims will have the right to sue attackers and institutions for incidents that occurred in the 1960s, ’70s, and ’80s.

“It’s our plan to run this legislation and send it back to the Senate,” Stephen Miskin, spokesman for House Majority Leader Dave Reed (R., Indiana), said after Rozzi’s announcement.

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