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Gov. Wolf Signs Three Bills to Protect Victims of Childhood Sexual Abuse

Mark Rozzi on a personal journey: Abuse victim determined to change laws

(Apr 13, 2016)

His voice, though quivering, filled the cavernous chamber. Rep. Mark Rozzi didn't have to dig too deeply. The emotion had been welling in him - not for weeks - but years. Rozzi, who was abused by a priest at the age of 13, was determined not to fail. The legislation that could hold out some justice and recompense for hundreds if not thousands of victims like him was on the line. Read more

 

Pa. House votes to extend window for child sex-abuse claims

(Apr 13, 2016)

HARRISBURG - In a stunning shift, the House voted Tuesday to abolish the statute of limitations for child-sex-abuse crimes and expand the legal window for victims to file lawsuits against their abusers. The 180-15 vote marked a swift and groundbreaking development on an issue that advocates, particularly clergy sex-abuse victims, had sought for years. The bill now heads to the Senate, where its fate is unclear. If approved there, it could open the door for hundreds of victims who say the statute of limitations has prevented them from seeking justice. "You have given the children of this commonwealth hope," said Rep. Mark Rozzi (D., Berks), an abuse victim, who sponsored the bill. Read more

 

Rozzi: We Want Justice

(Apr 12, 2016)

Pa. state Rep. Mark Rozzi speaks on the House floor about legislation that would dramatically alter Pennsylvania's outdated statute of limitations in cases of child sex abuse. Rozzi, a victim himself, called on his colleagues to give victims the chance at justice and to hold individuals and institutions accountable for these terrible crimes and cover-ups. The bill passed overwhelmingly shortly thereafter. Read more

 

Rozzi: Change Statute of Limitations on Child Sex Abuse

(Apr 12, 2016)

Pa. state Rep. Mark Rozzi continues the fight for victims of child sex abuse. Rozzi introduced an amendment that would allow past victims of child sex abuse to bring civil lawsuits until the age of 50, something that is currently prohibited by current law. Read more

 

House passes statute of limitations overhaul

(Apr 12, 2016)

A major change to the state's statute of limitations in child sex abuse cases is headed to the state Senate, after receiving final approval from House lawmakers. By a vote of 180-15, the House passed a plan to erase the time limit on criminal child sex abuse cases going forward and let victims bring civil suits until their 50th birthday, an extension of 20 years. The measure would also allow victims to sue institutions that harbored their abusers. At one point during debate, members suggested delaying their vote to review constitutional concerns. The motion was vehemently rejected by the bill's sponsor, Rep. Mark Rozzi (D-Berks), who has made his own story of being sexually abused by a childhood priest central to his support of statute of limitations changes. "These victims have been through enough. They have been abused, they have been lied to, their stories have been covered up!" said Rozzi, shouting into the microphone on the House floor. "And there has been institution and public corruption that has denied them justice!" The Pennsylvania Catholic Conference and the Insurance Federation have opposed the plan. Supporters received a jolt of urgency last month, with the release of a statewide grand jury report detailing a cover-up of child sex abuse at the hands of Catholic clergy at the Altoona-Johnstown diocese. Read more

 

PA House votes to extend statute of limitations in criminal and civil cases of child sex abuse

(Apr 12, 2016)

HARRISBURG — Last-minute attempts to postpone and stop a bill that would extend the statute of limitations for child sex-abuse cases failed Tuesday in the House. And they failed by wide margins as a majority of Republican and Democratic lawmakers united behind a belief they had the power and duty to atone for the past and make a better future for victims of child sex abuse. The bill would eliminate a legal time limit on when child abusers can be prosecuted for future crimes, and would give victims of past abuse more time to file civil lawsuits against their abusers and any employers who might have enabled the abuse. Read more

 

House approves bill to reform child sex crimes laws; measure heads to Senate

(Apr 12, 2016)

Following a poignant debate on the House floor, Pennsylvania lawmakers by an overwhelming majority voted Tuesday to advance a measure that would allow a generation of victims of child sexual abuse to seek justice. After years of failed efforts by advocates to reform laws applying to child sex crimes, House lawmakers voted 180-15 to approve a bill that will — if approved by the Senate — eliminate criminal statute of limitations on future child sex abuse crimes and amend civil statutes. Under the bill, the criminal statutes applied child sex abuse crimes would fall under the same parameters applied to murder: The statutes would never expire. Read more

 

State bill advances to protect rights of child sexual-abuse victims

(Apr 06, 2016)

HARRISBURG — A House committee on Tuesday approved legislation that would eliminate the deadline for beginning criminal prosecutions in certain future cases of child sexual abuse and allow victims to bring civil lawsuits until they turn 50. Read more

 

Bill to expand rights of child sex abuse victims clears state House panel

(Apr 06, 2016)

The push to give victims of child sexual abuse more time to take legal action against their abusers and the organizations that shield them has cleared a major hurdle. With a 26-1 vote Tuesday, the state House Judiciary Committee advanced a bill to overhaul the statutes of limitation for victims of child sex abuse. The bill had languished in the committee for years. The House is expected to consider the plan for final approval next week. Read more

 

Statute of limitations chat replay with Lancaster Online

(Apr 04, 2016)

View the replay of a chat with state Rep. Mark Rozzi, a Democrat from Berks County, who has been fighting to reform the Pennsylvania civil statute of limitations in cases of child sexual abuse. Read more

 

As Pennsylvania Confronts Clergy Sex Abuse, Victims and Lawmakers Act

(Apr 04, 2016)

LORETTO, Pa. — By the age of 12, Maureen Powers, the daughter of a professor at the local Roman Catholic university, played the organ in the magnificent hilltop Catholic basilica here and volunteered in the parish office. But, she said, she was hiding a secret: Her priest sexually abused her for two years, telling her it was for the purpose of “research.” By her high school years, she felt so tied up in knots of betrayal and shame that she confided in a succession of priests. She said the first tried to take advantage of her sexually, the second suggested she comfort herself with a daily candy bar and the third told her to see a counselor. None of them reported the abuse to the authorities or mentioned that she could take that step. Read more

 

Pennsylvania lawmakers: Victims of child sexual abuse deserve to have their day in court

(Apr 03, 2016)

If only “Spotlight” was a fictional creation of Hollywood, and not the all-too-real story of the Catholic Church’s systematic pattern of hiding priestly child sexual abuse. If only the story told by The Boston Globe pertained only to Boston, and not to Philadelphia, and Milwaukee, and Los Angeles, and Altoona-Johnstown, and dioceses across the globe. Unfortunately, wishing doesn’t make it so. “Spotlight” highlighted just how essential newspaper journalism can and should be. It showed how the unglamorous work of poring through documents, filing Right-to-Know requests and doggedly pursuing sources can yield a story that changes institutions and, more importantly, people’s lives. Read more

 

Now is the time for legislation to aid the victims of child sex abuse

(Apr 03, 2016)

Can you imagine the leader of a child sex ring appointing the police chief in your town? What if the leader of that child sex ring appointed people to all community leadership positions? Read more

 

Compromise and deal-breaker loom as lawmakers take up statute of limitations reform

(Apr 01, 2016)

Just one month after a grand jury report shed light on the latest systemic child abuse case in a Pennsylvania Catholic diocese, the Legislature may be poised to reform some of the laws that extend rights to victims of sexual abuse to seek legal recourse. The legislation likely to come out of the General Assembly may not be the overhaul reform advocates have been looking for, but the final product could just be a workable compromise. Read more

 

Rozzi reacts to criminal charges related to sexual abuse of students

(Mar 15, 2016)

HARRISBURG, March 15 – “A piece of justice” was state Rep. Mark Rozzi’s reaction to today’s announcement in Johnstown by Attorney General Kathleen Kane that three Franciscan friars who supervised a known serial predator are being charged with criminal conspiracy and child endangerment. “Allowing these heinous crimes to go unpunished would have been a complete failure of our justice system,” said Rozzi, D-Berks. “I commend Attorney General Kane for going after the men who managed Baker. I wouldn’t be surprised if this leads even further up the chain.” The charges filed by the state attorney general center on the molestation of over 80 children by the late Brother Stephen Baker at Bishop McCort High School and elsewhere between 1992 and 2010. Kane said the criminal charges carry a maximum seven-year sentence. “What occurred at the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown is despicable but not unique. I suspect we will continue to learn about additional victims and systematic cover ups that occurred in every corner of this state. Until we fix our statute of limitations laws, predators will continue to be hidden and children and communities will be at risk,” Rozzi said. “From what I’ve read in all of the grand jury reports involving the Catholic Church, felony one charges would be in order. We need to get and keep these monsters off the street for good.” Rozzi is again urging his colleagues in the House to support H.B.s 951 and 655 that respectively seek to open a two-year window t Read more

 

Rozzi, victims and advocates rally at the Capitol for statute of limitations reform

(Mar 14, 2016)

HARRISBURG, March 14 – State Rep. Mark Rozzi, D-Berks, held a rally and news conference at the state Capitol today to demonstrate public support of efforts to get child sex abuse statute of limitations bills moved to the full House for a vote. “First it was Boston, then Philadelphia and Los Angeles, and the pattern repeats itself in Altoona-Johnstown. The only way this ends is if we make it loud and clear to child rapists and those who harbor them, that they can no longer hide,” Rozzi said. “To my colleagues in this building, I beg you to stand with me and pass our bills. Let’s get this done.” At the rally, Rozzi was accompanied by Attorney General Kathleen Kane, Auditor General Eugene DePasquale, public officials, sexual abuse survivors and advocacy organizations, including the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape. “Sexually abusing a child essentially kills all of the childhood foundations necessary to grow into a happy adult with trust, feeling loved, security and respect for authority figures,” Kane said. “This is a life sentence for the child. If an abuser is allowed to destroy the childhood of a boy or girl, why then do we allow the criminal to escape a lifetime of accountability for his crimes?” “As a society, we have a moral obligation to do more to protect children from predators,” DePasquale said. “We must do everything possible to help those children who have been traumatized by abuse. One of the things we can do – make that must do – is eliminate the abysma Read more

 

Rozzi Rallies For Victims Of Sexual Abuse

(Mar 14, 2016)

Pa. state Rep. Mark Rozzi held a rally and news conference at the state Capitol to demonstrate public support of efforts to get bills that would remove the statute of limitations on sexual abuse cases moved to the full House for a vote. Read more

 

Lawmaker wants to investigate every diocese in the state

(Mar 10, 2016)

A Berks County Democrat is calling for every district attorney in Pennsylvania to expand efforts to track child sexual abuse by priests. In the wake of a grand jury investigation into abuse within the Altoona-Johnstown diocese, state Rep. Mark Rozzi said Wednesday he’d like to see a stronger effort to address the abuse in every part of the state. Read more

 

Pennsylvania Looks to Rewrite Laws on Sexual-Abuse Prosecution

(Mar 10, 2016)

Lawmakers in Pennsylvania are trying to join other states in rewriting laws to facilitate prosecutions for sexual abuse, spurred by a grand jury report last week that found a Catholic diocese there hid child sex abuse by priests for four decades. Statutes of limitations in Pennsylvania often bar victims of abuse and prosecutors from pursuing legal action against perpetrators. One bill in the state would remove criminal statutes of limitations for new incidents. Another bill would create a two-year window waiving statutes of limitations for civil cases, so victims could file lawsuits against abusers who committed crimes many years earlier. A number of states have already put such temporary waivers in place. Read more

 

Lawmaker: Investigate every Catholic diocese in PA

(Mar 09, 2016)

One state lawmaker says he wants to see a more intensive focus on child sex abuse cases statewide in light of the recent grand jury report criticizing the Roman Catholic Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown. "I honestly believe that every diocese should be investigated and opened up with a grand jury," said Rep. Mark Rozzi (D-Berks) on Wednesday. "That's my own personal opinion. We should look at every single one. As a Catholic, as a victim, I want to know the answer." Read more

 

Mark Rozzi on a personal journey: Abuse victim determined to change laws
Apr 13, 2016

Pa. House votes to extend window for child sex-abuse claims
Apr 13, 2016

Rozzi: We Want Justice
Apr 12, 2016

Rozzi: Change Statute of Limitations on Child Sex Abuse
Apr 12, 2016

House passes statute of limitations overhaul
Apr 12, 2016

PA House votes to extend statute of limitations in criminal and civil cases of child sex abuse
Apr 12, 2016

House approves bill to reform child sex crimes laws; measure heads to Senate
Apr 12, 2016

State bill advances to protect rights of child sexual-abuse victims
Apr 06, 2016

Bill to expand rights of child sex abuse victims clears state House panel
Apr 06, 2016

Statute of limitations chat replay with Lancaster Online
Apr 04, 2016

As Pennsylvania Confronts Clergy Sex Abuse, Victims and Lawmakers Act
Apr 04, 2016

Pennsylvania lawmakers: Victims of child sexual abuse deserve to have their day in court
Apr 03, 2016

Now is the time for legislation to aid the victims of child sex abuse
Apr 03, 2016

Compromise and deal-breaker loom as lawmakers take up statute of limitations reform
Apr 01, 2016

Rozzi reacts to criminal charges related to sexual abuse of students
Mar 15, 2016

Rozzi, victims and advocates rally at the Capitol for statute of limitations reform
Mar 14, 2016

Rozzi Rallies For Victims Of Sexual Abuse
Mar 14, 2016

Lawmaker wants to investigate every diocese in the state
Mar 10, 2016

Pennsylvania Looks to Rewrite Laws on Sexual-Abuse Prosecution
Mar 10, 2016

Lawmaker: Investigate every Catholic diocese in PA
Mar 09, 2016