‘I continue to be optimistic,’ Attorney General Josh Shapiro says as Pa. House kick-starts reforms on child sexual abuse

Pennsylvania Capital Star

March 29, 2019

By John L. Micek

Eight months after his office released a landmark grand jury report that detailed decades of sexual abuse by hundreds of Roman Catholic priests and a subsequent cover-up, Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro is still searching for justice for the victims.

“I continue to be optimistic,” Shapiro said Wednesday during a wide-ranging interview with the Capital-Star in his Harrisburg office. “And I know that this has to get done.”

The “this” that Shapiro is talking about are the four recommendations included in the 884-page grand jury report that lays out, in graphic detail, the abuse committed against thousands of children by priests who were shuttled from diocese to diocese, where they were allowed to abuse again.

Those recommendations include eliminating the criminal statute of limitations and the creation of a “civil window” that would allow older victims to sue in civil court.

A push for those changes fell apart last fall, on the final day of the 2018 legislative session, when the Republican-controlled state Senate failed to reach a consensus on a plan offered by President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati. Under the proposal, victims would have been able to sue individual perpetrators, but not such institutions as the Catholic Church, which hid the abuse, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported at the time.

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