SNAP - Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests [Chicago IL]
July 7, 2023
By Zach Hiner
Justice for victims of child sex abuse in Pennsylvania remains elusive. Budget agreements are being worked through in the state’s capital, but none mentions window legislation for survivors. A constitutional amendment, as well as a stand-alone bill, remain in the senate chambers after both HB1 and HB2 passed overwhelmingly this spring in the State House of Representatives.
Sadly, it appears that victim-survivors will have to wait until the Senate returns in September to see if either of the bills makes it onto the voting calendar. As far as we can tell, the constitutional amendment will not make an administrative deadline for it to appear on the November ballot for voters.
We’re also disappointed in Governor Shapiro who made ‘justice for survivors’ part of his campaign platform and promised to ‘get this done.’ In our opinion, providing a pathway to justice for survivors of childhood sexual assault in Pennsylvania should have been a larger priority this budget season.
Survivors have long held the liability and it is time to shift the cost of abuse back to where it belongs: at the feet of the abuser and those who enabled them. Each day that the state senate fails to act, predators remain hidden, and children remain at risk. Survivors deserve the right to the legal process for discovery and justice.
Therefore, passing either HB1 or HB2 would be the single most effective action lawmakers could take to safeguard children and give time-barred victims their day in court. Language in both of these measures would enable anyone who had been abused by a predator at any time to use the civil courts to alert the public and parents about those who molest children and try to hide their crimes. This is a fast, simple, and reasonable technique to identify harmful predators, stop cover-ups, and stop repeat offenders.
As legislators plan their summer break, we hope they remember victim-survivors who are hoping for justice and to expose the name, residence, workplace, and history of abusive men and women who are walking the streets of vacation destinations.
CONTACT: Mike McDonnell, SNAP Interim Executive Director (firstname.lastname@example.org, 267-261-0578), Melanie Sakoda, SNAP Survivor Support Director (email@example.com, 925-708-6175) Shaun Dougherty, SNAP Board President (firstname.lastname@example.org, 814-341-8386)