By Dave Sutor
Whether to make any new child sexual abuse statute-of-limitation laws retroactive to include past incidents that have gone unpursued in the legal system became a point of contention in the Pennsylvania General Assembly last year.
It appears like the same political and legal debate might occur again during the 2017 session that recently got underway.
Currently, victims who were under the age of 18 when alleged abuse occurred can file civil charges until they reach age 30.
Criminal charges can also be brought until age 30 for individuals born before Aug. 27, 2002. That limit increases to age 50 for accusers born after that same date.
During the process, one group – led by state Rep. Mark Rozzi, D-Berks – has sought to make any increase in the statutes include retroactivity, meaning alleged violators could face charges for past allegations that had already surpassed their time limit. That version overwhelmingly passed the House.
But the bill that unanimously got through the Senate included an amendment – introduced by Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati, R-Jefferson – that stripped the retroactivity.
No compromise was reached.
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