FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
State Rep. Louise Williams Bishop
Bishop legislation provides further protection
for victims of sexual abuse
HARRISBURG, Dec. 13 – State Rep. Louise Williams Bishop, D-Phila., has introduced legislation to provide additional safeguards for victims of sexual abuse.
Bishop said her legislation (H.B. 2058) would lift the current statute of limitations on criminal prosecutions and civil lawsuits against people who commit sex crimes against children in Pennsylvania.
Bishop is Democratic chairwoman of the House Children and Youth Committee and, in past legislative sessions, has introduced similar legislation to protect young victims of sexual abuse.
Bishop's legislation would change Pennsylvania law that prohibits people from pursuing criminal charges or civil lawsuits after age 30 or 50, respectively, against someone who allegedly committed a sex crime against them when they were a child.
"I believe it is critical that we provide support to victims of child molestation and sexual abuse," Bishop said. "We need to protect the rights of young victims of sex abuse not only while they are children, but also when they grow into adults.
Bishop said there are many reasons why young children do not report these crimes, or cannot deal with them, for many years.
"Cutting off the ability of victims to pursue criminal prosecution or civil action against their attackers after a certain age is unfair and allows many criminals to go unpunished."
"I don’t want this suffering to affect another generation of children, because many adults who were abused as children still carry the torment and suffering caused by these assaults," Bishop said. "I believe that predators may be deterred from committing these heinous crimes if they know that justice may one day be brought upon them."
Bishop also introduced legislation (H.B. 2057) that amends the right to bail law to exclude individuals who have been charged with capital offenses for which the maximum sentence is life imprisonment or for sexual abuse of children.
“I find it imperative that we take immediate action to secure the safety of the community from those that have been proven to be dangerous,” Bishop said.
Both measures are awaiting consideration in the House Judiciary Committee.