Grand Jury Report Exposed Widespread Clergy Abuse in Pennsylvania
Last year a grand jury investigation into widespread clergy sexual abuse in several Catholic dioceses throughout Pennsylvania lead to shocking disclosures. More than a thousand incidents of sexual abuse by priests were cited in the report, which thousands of others were thought to have gone unreported. Clergy members who were repeat offenders, later dubbed “predator priests,” were said to number in the hundreds. And many of these incidents were covered up by other clergy members and administrators connected with the Catholic Church.
The report sent shockwaves around the state, country, and world. Since then, several states, including nearby New Jersey and New York, have launched their own investigations into clergy abuse. Victims funds have been set up. And claims against perpetrators are being heard.
Pennsylvania Legislators May Pass Bills Extending Statute of Limitations on Sexual Abuse
In Pennsylvania, child sexual-abuse reform bills have been working their way through the legislature. After bills stalled before the last Congressional session ended, efforts have to get the reform bills passed have been renewed by advocates for victims’ rights and sympathetic legislators.
Two related bills are up for consideration in Harrisburg, both of which may pass in the House in upcoming days. This week, the House Judiciary Committee voted positively for a bill that would remove the statue of limitations for child sexual abuse crimes and for a constitutional amendment that would permit child sexual-abuse lawsuits that would otherwise be outdated during a two-year period.
Both measures are widely supported in the House, but the state Senate’s Republican majority blocked similar legislation in 2018.