State House Sound Bites

Capitol reporter Katie Meyer covers Pennsylvania politics and issues at the Pennsylvania state capitol.

The State House Sound Bites Podcast is now called State of the State and is a part of PA Post, a digital-first, citizen-focused news organization to hold Pennsylvania’s government accountable to its citizens.

House, Senate appear poised for a battle over child sex abuse bill

Written by Katie Meyer, Capitol Bureau Chief | Oct 12, 2018 8:09 PM

Rozzi speaks at a rally in favor of the a two-year window for retroactive lawsuits on statute-limited cases. (Katie Meyer/WITF)


(Harrisburg) -- The state House and Senate are on track to clash this week over a bill intended to make it easier for child victims of sexual abuse to sue their abusers.

The two chambers agree on most of the bill's major components. However, a split over whether to allow retroactive lawsuits may sink the entire thing.

Fundamentally, the proposal would eliminate the statute of limitations on all child sex abuse cases and extend the cap for victims to file civil suits against institutions.

The version the House passed would also open a two-year window for lawsuits in cases on which the statute of limitations already expired.

The Senate got rid of that provision in a draft of their proposed changes -- instead adding a compensation fund for statute-limited victims and establishing a public registry where abusers can be named.

Democratic Representative Mark Rozzi of Berks County says he received the Senate's proposal Thursday evening, and provided a copy to reporters. He called it a "slap in the face," and said it doesn't go far enough to give abuse victims recourse.

"There's going to be a full-out war against them if they do not put a window in this bill," he said.

A spokesman for Senate leaders didn't return a request for comment.

Rozzi said negotiations are still ongoing, and is hopeful the two chambers will reach some agreement before the session ends and the bill is automatically killed.

Published in News, State House Sound Bites

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