McClinton: Reform statute of limitations limits to help victims of child sexual abuse

HARRISBURG, Sept. 21 – State Rep. Joanna McClinton joined a news conference at the state Capitol today to show her support of legislation that would bring needed reforms to Pennsylvania laws that affect victims of child sexual abuse.

“Victims of these horrific crimes carry pain and mental scars for a long time,” said McClinton, D-Phila./Delaware. “It can take many years – sometimes decades – for victims to summon the courage to talk about what happened to them. That’s why we need to change our laws to give these victims more time to seek justice.”

Currently, there are four bills that would allow more victims of child sexual abuse to seek justice.

House Bill 661 and an identical Senate bill, Senate Bill 582, would raise the age from 30 to 50 for a victim of child sexual abuse who is now an adult to file a lawsuit. The bills also would permit previously time-barred victims to bring suit.

House Bill 655 would eliminate the statute of limitations in child sexual abuse cases, allowing victims to file criminal charges and lawsuits, regardless of the amount of time that has passed since the abuse occurred.

In addition, House Bill 951 would create a two-year window for past victims of child sex abuse to file civil suit.

Also showing their support for the legislation at today’s news conference were several state representatives and senators, as well as numerous activists. The activists included Lynne Abraham, former Philadelphia district attorney; Jennifer Storm, victim advocate for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania; Jeff Dion, director of the National Crime Victim Bar Association and the National Center for Victims of Crime; and John Salveson, president of the Foundation to Abolish Child Sex Abuse.