Handling of abuse allegations divides AG candidates

The Tribune-Democrat

September 25, 2020

By John Finnerty

HARRISBURG – Heather Heidelbaugh, Republican candidate for attorney general, said current Attorney General Josh Shapiro should not have publicized the names of priests who weren’t charged but were accused of molesting children in a grand jury report detailing the abuse of at least 1,000 children across the state over decades.

Hardly any of the priests named in the report were charged because the crimes occurred so long ago that the state’s statute of limitations had expired. Efforts to open a window to allow survivors of child sex crimes to sue despite the statute of limitations have stalled, though the General Assembly could vote next year to put a Constitutional amendment question about opening a window for lawsuits on the ballot.

With those statutes of limitations in place, the attorney general shouldn’t have named the priests accused of crimes because they didn’t have the opportunity to clear their names in any meaningful way, Heidelbaugh said.

Heidelbaugh is facing Shapiro, the Democratic incumbent, in the November election.

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