State agency bungles ballot referendum for child sex victims

Associated Press

February 1, 2021

By Mark Scolforo and Marc Levy

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Some victims of child sexual abuse might have to wait two years or more to pursue legal claims because of a major bureaucratic bungle that prompted angry denunciations across the political spectrum Monday and the resignation of Pennsylvania’s top state elections official.

A proposed state constitutional amendment allowing lawsuits for otherwise outdated claims was not advertised as required and so cannot appear on the ballot this spring, the Wolf administration disclosed.

The Pennsylvania Department of State in a news release called it “simple human error” and apologized, saying the mistake was discovered late last week. As a result, Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar is leaving her job, and both the inspector general and the Legislature will be looking into the matter.

“The delay caused by this human error will be heartbreaking for thousands of survivors of childhood sexual assault, advocates and legislators, and I join the Department of State in apologizing to you,” Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf said in a statement. “I share your anger and frustration that this happened, and I stand with you in your fight for justice.”

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