In the aftermath of the appalling grand jury investigation into sexual abuse in Pennsylvania, which details the horrific experiences of more than 1,000 victims by 300 "predator priests” across the state, the PA state legislature is under pressure to suspend the state of limitation on sexual assault so that perpetrators can be brought to justice, no matter how long ago they committed their crimes.
Rampant Clerical Sexual Abuse in Pennsylvania Dioceses
The report, which covered details of sexual misconduct and coverup within six of the state’s eight Roman Catholic dioceses, gave the public a truly shocking portrait of what has gone on in the dioceses of Pittsburgh, Erie, Greensburg, Harrisburg, Allentown, and Scranton. The report, which includes criminal and morally reprehensible conduct perpetrated against 1,000 victims, states that this may just scratch the surface - that the victims may number in the thousands eventually.
PA Legislature Considers Suspending State of Limitation on Sexual Abuse
As the public reels from these gruesome revelations, lawmakers in Pennsylvania have come under increasing pressure to suspend the statute of limitations on sexual abuse in the state so that victims may come forward and bring their cases against not only members of the Catholic church but other abusers who often lurk in institutional settings. Teachers and coaches have also been found to be common perpetrators of sexual abuse, since they have close and constant contact with children in isolation from parents and other adults.
If advocates for sexual abuse justice prevail, the PA legislature could pass a law giving victims two years from the date the law is passed to bring cases against sexual abusers, with on limit on how long ago the incident occurred. This law could open up the floodgates in terms of sexual abuse litigation and finally give an opportunity to those who have suffered abuse to obtain justice, compensation, and closure.