More than a year after report on Catholic Church abuse, Pa. overhauls child sex abuse laws

Associated Press

Nov. 27, 2019

By Marc Levy and Mark Scolforo

Pennsylvania overhauled its child sexual abuse laws Tuesday, more than a year after a landmark grand jury report showed the cover-up of hundreds of cases of abuse in most of Pennsylvania’s Roman Catholic dioceses over seven decades.

The central bill signed by Gov. Tom Wolf gives future victims of child sex abuse more time to file lawsuits and ends time limits for police to file criminal charges.

The grand jury report spurred many states to change their laws and others to begin similar investigations.

Wolf said the new laws will help repair “faults in our justice system that prevent frightened, abused children from seeking justice when they grow into courageous adults.”

The legislative package was based on recommendations in last year’s report on six of eight dioceses in the state.

Wolf, a Democrat, also signed bills to invalidate secrecy agreements that keep child sexual abuse victims from talking to investigators, and to increase penalties for people who are required to report suspected abuse but fail to do so.

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