Wake-up Call: A historic summit, rally to fight child sex abuse and more
By Steve Esack
June 12, 2018
|State Rep. Mark Rozzi, D-Berks, and other advocates to end child sex abuse will hold a 3 p.m. news conference Tuesday in the state Capitol.|
The summit is over between President Donald Trump and North Korea's Kim Jong Un, with Trump saying he would freeze “war games” with South Korea, writes the Associated Press.
Rally to fight child sex abuse
State Rep. Mark Rozzi, D-Berks, and other advocates seeking to end child sex abuse will hold a 3 p.m. news conference in the state Capitol.
The gathering comes as the attorney general’s office prepares to release the findings of a statewide grand jury investigation into child sex abuse and cover ups in six Catholic dioceses and supporters within local governments and communities.
Rozzi, who has spoken of his own childhood rape at the hands of a priest, will be joined by other victims who say they were abused by religious leaders in other denominations. Rozzi will be pushing for passage of a bill to lift time limits for when victims can sue their alleged abusers.
Rozzi, with the backing of a majority of Republican and Democratic lawmakers, pushed a similar bill through the House in 2016. It died in the Senate that year amid widespread opposition, especially from Sen. Stewart Greenleaf, R-Montgomery, who chairs the Senate Judiciary committee, which handles state legal issues.
In 2017, the Senate passed a bill that did not go as far as Rozzi and his supporters wanted in seeking the right to recoup damages form alleged abusers and their enablers. The Senate bill, passed in February 2017 and sitting in the House, would lift time limits and give some child sex abuse victims more time to sue their alleged abusers and any employers who protected them.
This year, Greenleaf proposed a bill that would forbid prosecutors from using the grand jury law for investigations akin to the one state and local prosecutors have done into child sex abuse in Catholic dioceses.
Senate Bill 1133 would preclude grand juries from criticizing public officials, witnesses and others who are not charged with a crime but whose actions, or lack thereof, may have been a contributing factor to the crime. The bill would forbid prosecutors from naming anyone or any organization not charged with a crime. The bill also would mandate that judges provide “reasonable notice” to anyone affected by the court-approved disclosure of a grand jury record.
Defense lawyers hailed Greenleaf’s bill as a needed remedy in what they consider Pennsylvania’s one-sided grand jury process. Prosecutors panned it as detrimental to protecting citizens and holding the powerful accountable, forcing Greenleaf to postpone a committee vote on it.
Lost military medals and help for veterans
Got a loved one who may have lost a military medals? The state Treasury is looking for you. The agency currently holds more than 500 military-related items from various conflicts as unclaimed property and has stepped up efforts to return them, writes columnist Paul Muschick. His column also includes information on an upcoming Veterans Administration meeting in the Lehigh Valley.
Off to the races
Marty Nothstein, who is running to represent the Lehigh Valley in Congress, is one of nine Republicans who have recently advanced to the second phase of the “Young Guns” program, which recognizes GOP candidates with the strong organization needed to wage competitive campaigns.
Nothstein is competing against Democrat Susan Wild in Pennsylvania’s new 7th District, which includes Lehigh, Northampton and parts of southern Monroe counties.
No ARD for you
Pennsylvania appeals court has upheld Northampton County District Attorney John Morganelli’s policy of barring undocumented immigrants charged with minor crimes from benefiting from a first-offender program that would lessen their chances of deportation.
To change redistricting or not
About three dozen advocates gathered Monday in the Capitol Rotunda to push for legislative approval of a bill offering citizens greater say in how Pennsylvania's congressional and state legislative district lines are drawn.
The push to find a less political way of drawing maps is being made in more than two dozen other states, too.