Pa. Senate reopens child sex abuse debate; deadlines to bring cases against abusers extended in new bill


By Charles Thompson |

The state Senate reopened debate Monday on the thorny issue of ensuring wider paths to justice for victims of child sexual abuse.

Judiciary Committee members voted without opposition to move a bill to the Senate floor that would give future abuse victims longer windows to bring lawsuits or criminal prosecution against their tormentors.

But it does not include any changes for those adults for whom statute of limitations have already run, a demand insisted on by many advocates for abuse victims that was included in House-passed versions of the bill last year.

Action on any reforms stalled on that issue in 2016.

Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati, R-Jefferson County and prime sponsor of Senate Bill 261, said he wanted to move quickly to bring the issue back up now because he believes there are good changes in his bill that should be enacted, separate of the retroactivity issue.

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