State House Sound Bites

Capitol reporter Mary Wilson covers Pennsylvania politics and issues at the Pennsylvania state capitol.

Call to lift statues of limitations on child sex abuse cases

Written by Mary Wilson | Mar 15, 2016 3:27 AM
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FILE PHOTO: Arthur Baselice, the father of Arthur Baselice III, pictured in poster at right, sits on a pew after a news conference in Philadelphia on Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2015. Baselice said his son was abused by a priest and a religious brother, became addicted to drugs and killed himself. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

(Harrisburg) -- State lawmakers who want to lift the statutes of limitations on child sex abuse are basically declaring war on the committee chairman who's holding the changes at bay.

One bill would erase the time limit on future prosecutions and civil claims of child sexual abuse.

Another would create a two-year window in the state of limitations on civil claims.

Both are stuck in the House Judiciary Committee, and Democratic Representative Mark Rozzi of Berks County says he's determined to get them out.

"Are we prepared to take every measure possible to get this out? Yes. We are looking at discharges," he says. "We are looking at jamming everything up in that Judiciary Committee so that nothing gets out without our amendment on it."

State Auditor General Eugene DePasquale says he supports the effort.

"If you wanted to aggravate yourself enough and walk through this Capitol and find every lame excuse after lame excuse as to why this bill isn't done already, you might want to vomit," he says.

The chairman says he supports ending the criminal statute of limitations on child sexual abuse, but that's it.

The 10 Roman Catholic dioceses in Pennsylvania oppose eliminating the statutes of limitations, saying, essentially, that decades-old charges would be difficult to corroborate.

The Insurance Federation of Pennsylvania is also against allowing civil claims of child sexual abuse to be filed after the statute of limitations has expired.

Insurers say the move would create retroactive liability for which they can't plan.

     

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