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

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

 

Lawmakers in Pa. asking for help for victims of child abuse

(Mar 09, 2016)

HARRISBURG, Pa. -- Lawmakers asked district attorneys Wednesday to help victims of child sex abuse get closure after the Altoona- Johnstown diocese child sex abuse scandal, and said it's a problem throughout the state. Rep. Mark Rozzi said, "We're talking about an epidemic here in the state of Pennsylvania." Rozzi is asking district attorneys in Pennsylvania to set up child sex abuse hotlines in their jurisdiction. Read more

 

Rozzi calls for DAs to take action on child sex abuse cases

(Mar 09, 2016)

HARRISBURG, March 9 – State Rep. Mark Rozzi, D-Berks, and Rep. Tom Murt, R- Montgomery/Phila., held a news conference today and called on district attorneys throughout the commonwealth to pursue every lead possible that could produce evidence – including the subpoena of records in child sex abuse cases – and to conduct grand jury investigations wherever multiple allegations arise. “It is unacceptable to look at the statute of limitations, shrug our shoulders and decided there is nothing to be done,” Rozzi said. “That is why I am asking prosecutors across the commonwealth to seriously consider any and all legal opportunities that may lead to new evidence or charges in similar child sexual abuse cases. I am also calling on these prosecutors to establish grand juries – similar to the one that uncovered the truth about the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown – wherever multiple allegations arise. ” Murt said, “Make no mistake, as ugly and as painful as the latest child sex abuse scandal is, this is not the last one we will hear about. It is an excellent example where documentation, e-mails, all kinds of notes, are in official church records.” Rozzi also urged county prosecutors to set up child sex abuse hotlines within their jurisdictions. Rozzi reported that the hotline established by the Office of the Attorney General, which can be reached at (888) 538-8541, has received approximately 150 calls since it began operating last week. “After I read the grand jury report on the Dioce Read more

 

Rozzi Discusses Church Sex Abuse with Al Jazeera

(Mar 08, 2016)

Pa. state Rep. Mark Rozzi, a longtime advocate for extending the statute of limitations on sexual abuse cases and a victim himself, speaks with Al Jazeera America about the recent Altoona-Johnstown case, his fight for victims, and his call for an investigation of the Catholic Church in Pennsylvania. Read more

 

Rozzi: Statue of limitations shouldn’t protect perpetrators uncovered in new grand jury report

(Mar 01, 2016)

TEMPLE, March 1 – In response to today’s announcement by Attorney General Kathleen Kane, state Rep. Mark Rozzi, D-Berks, is again calling on the chairmen of the House Judiciary Committee and leadership in the General Assembly to move statute of limitation reform legislation that was reintroduced almost one year ago. At a news conference today, Kane released grand jury findings that revealed, over a period of four decades, hundreds of children were sexually abused by priests and religious leaders in the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown. Despite overwhelming evidence of the abuse, no charges could be filed due to expiration of time limits set by law. As children, most victims did not have the wherewithal to come forward. For those who did, the pervasive cover-up by the archdiocese, in collusion at times with law enforcement and prosecutors, prevented claims from being filed on a timely basis. "The Altoona-Johnstown Diocese tragedy is no different than what happened in Boston, Philadelphia, Los Angeles and many other cities and towns across the country," Rozzi said. "We know the epidemic of child sex abuse is not just a Catholic problem, but let’s be clear. The lobbyists against reform bills have institutional risk management, as opposed to the welfare of children, as their main priority and they have the ear of some of my colleagues." In light of these findings, Rozzi is asking his colleagues to contact Judiciary Committee Chairmen Ronald Marsico and Joseph Petrarca to call Read more

 

Property Tax/Rent Rebate forms available at my office

(Feb 15, 2016)

Forms for Pennsylvania’s Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program for the 2015 tax year are available at my district office – and my staff is ready to help you file yours for free ! The rebate program benefits eligible Pennsylvanians 65 or older, widows and widowers 50 or older, and people with disabilities 18 or older. The income limit is $35,000 a year for homeowners and $15,000 annually for renters. Half of Social Security income is excluded and the maximum standard rebate is $650. Claimants must reapply for rebates every year because they are based on annual income and property taxes or rent paid each year. Spouses, personal representatives or estates may file rebate claims on behalf of deceased claimants who lived at least one day in 2015 and meet all other eligibility criteria. The oft-extended deadline to apply for a rebate on property taxes or rent paid in 2015 is June 30, 2016, and the rebates normally are distributed by the Deparment of Revenue beginning July 1. So, the sooner you file, the sooner you will receive your money. Read more

 

PACE prescription programs benefit seniors

(Feb 10, 2016)

PACE, PACENET and PACE plus Medicare are Pennsylvania's prescription assistance programs for older adults, offering low-cost prescription medication to qualified residents, age 65 and older. As of this year, the legislature passed a law excluding Social Security Medicare Part B premiums from being counted towards income levels. Read more

 

Rozzi: End the Budget Crisis

(Feb 09, 2016)

Pa. state Rep. Mark Rozzi says it's time for lawmakers to put people before politics and take Pennsylvania down a path where schools are funded, those in need get help and our homeowners don't face higher property taxes every year. Read more

 

CHIP offers kids protection and parents peace of mind

(Jan 29, 2016)

Pennsylvania has a Children's Health Insurance Program that provides free and low-cost health insurance to children. CHIP is not welfare – it covers children of working parents whose employers don't offer coverage and who can't afford private insurance. If you can't afford health insurance for your children, chances are they are eligible for CHIP. Read more

 

Pa. Treasury could be holding your unclaimed property

(Jan 01, 2016)

Each year, the Pennsylvania Treasury receives millions of dollars of unclaimed property. It is estimated that roughly one in 10 Pennsylvanians has unclaimed property. Read more

 

PA Power Switch: Ask the right questions

(Dec 30, 2015)

In Pennsylvania, you can choose the company that generates your electricity – also known as your electric supplier. This means that you have the power to switch to a competing supplier who can offer the lowest price, or provide a specific service you want, such as “green” or renewable energy. Read more

 

Rozzi sets up Santa program for local less-fortunate families

(Dec 15, 2015)

TEMPLE, Dec. 15 – State Rep. Mark Rozzi, D-Berks, reminds constituents in his district there is still time to make the holidays more festive for local families in need. In an effort to help less-fortunate families during the holiday season, Rozzi’s office is coordinating the wish lists of needy families in the 126th Legislative District with area organizations and other community partners. "This holiday season is supposed to be one of joy and fellowship, but it is hard to celebrate when you are struggling financially, which is why my office is collecting Christmas wish lists from families in need. We will match those families up with other families and organizations wishing to ‘adopt’ them for the holiday," said Rozzi. “To date, we have already helped 34 local families make this Christmas extra special for their children, and we are not done yet.” Rozzi’s office is coordinating the gift-giving efforts. Presents obtained will be given to parents in the less-fortunate families so they can give them to their children on Christmas. "If you would like to participate, please contact my office and we'll do our best to match you up with another family who'd like to help,” said Rozzi. "We do not want credit for the gifts; that's why the parents will be the ones acting as Santa for their children. We just want happy families this holiday season.” To help facilitate the "adoptions," Rozzi has created the following Facebook page offering more information: http://on.fb.me/1XT4Ls9. Read more

 

Rozzi: Start Saving for College NOW with PA 529

(Dec 02, 2015)

If a college education is in your child’s future – even if that child is still in diapers – you may want to check out the two PA 529 College Savings Program options. To find out more or to enroll just visit www.pa529.com or call 1-800-440-4000. The Pennsylvania Treasurer's Office started this plan to help parents pay for future college costs by letting account owners save for tomorrow’s college expenses at today’s plan rates. Read more

 

Rozzi sets up Santa program for local less-fortunate families

(Nov 05, 2015)

TEMPLE, Nov. 5 – State Rep. Mark Rozzi, D-Berks, is doing his part to make the holidays more festive for local families in need. His office is coordinating the wish lists of needy families in the 126th Legislative District with area organizations and other families desiring to help the less fortunate during the holiday season. "My office is collecting Christmas wish lists from families in need, and we will match them up to other families and organizations wishing to 'adopt' them for the holiday," Rozzi said. "We are looking for families in the 126th District who are struggling financially, who may need help in ensuring their children have gifts under the tree to open on Christmas morning. So, if you would like to participate, please contact my office and we'll do our best to match you up with another family who'd like to help." Rozzi said that his office will not purchase the gifts, but simply coordinate the gift-giving efforts. Presents obtained will be given to the parents in the less-fortunate families so they can give them to their children on Christmas. "We do not want credit for the gifts, that's why the parents will be the ones acting as Santa for their children. We just want happy families this holiday season," he said. To help facilitate the "adoptions," Rozzi has created the following Facebook page for more information: http://on.fb.me/1XT4Ls9. Those interested in participating also may contact his office at 610-921-8921. Read more