Rozzi releases statement on Solebury School and introduction of the Real Deal

READING, Feb. 17 – State Rep. Mark Rozzi, D-Berks, released the following statement today about the Bucks County Solebury School Grand Jury Report released earlier this month and his introduction of H.B. 612. The report summarized decades-long widespread sexual abuse of dozens of students at the elite private school, but no charges could be brought against perpetrators because of the expired statute of limitations. House Bill 612, known as the Real Deal, would eliminate the criminal and civil statute of limitations for childhood sexual assault claims and allow for a revival of the civil window.

“Apologies do not change the culture of institutional abuse. Eliminating the statute of limitations for childhood sexual abuse will. It boggles the mind that this Solebury School two-year grand jury investigation, after concluding that criminal charges, such as indecent assault, endangering the welfare of children, corruption of minors, failure to report and sodomy, could have been brought had the statute of limitations been in place, did not make recommendations to reform the law.

“Instead the grand jury made several lame, no-brainer suggestions, which the headmaster impetuously stated they would ponder.

“In 2011, a grand jury accused the Archdiocese of Philadelphia of mishandling or ignoring evidence in cases of alleged child abuse, even after they hired that first state victim advocate to make recommendations following a similarly devastating grand jury report in 2005. None were implemented.

“Establishing practices and procedures, training programs, mandatory reporting and so-called "zero tolerance" policies only work in environments which actually enforce these pronouncements.

“Today, I introduced the Real Deal, House Bill 612, which would eliminate the criminal and civil statute of limitations for childhood sexual assault claims and allow for a revival of a civil window. Past victims of these crimes should also have the opportunity to depose records, expose predators and hold individuals and institutions accountable that cover up crimes.

“In light of what we now know given our experience with Sandusky, Cosby, the Boy Scouts, the Solebury School, Episcopal Academy, Chestnut Hill Academy, the Plum School District, and countless other perpetrators and institutions, any attempt to pass legislation without the all­ important window, is a travesty. It's time to get this right in Harrisburg.”