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.

Shapiro urges lawmakers to allow suits in old abuse cases

Written by Katie Meyer, Capitol Bureau Chief | Nov 19, 2018 9:22 PM

Attorney General Josh Shapiro rejected the idea that having churches pay victims for past sexual abuse is an acceptable response to years of coordinated, documented cover-up. (Photo by AP)


(Harrisburg) -- In a speech Monday, state Attorney General Josh Shapiro said there is more to come in his office's investigation into abuse within the Catholic church.

In a wide-ranging speech, Shapiro touched on the many lawsuits he's been involved in against the Trump administration. He also touted improvements in the AG's office after years of scandal and rebuffed a question about whether he wants to be governor.

But he had perhaps the most to say about a grand jury report released earlier this year that found about 300 clergy members abused more than 1,000 children over many decades.

It included four recommendations for legislative change. But last month, state lawmakers were unsuccessful in their attempts to pass them.

In particular, state Senate negotiations broke down over a plan to allow retroactive lawsuits on old abuse cases.

Shapiro said he doesn't think it's enough for dioceses to create compensation funds--a commonly-suggested alternative.

"The idea that a--and I'm going to use the word--that a criminal can be the arbiter of their own punishment, to me is just crazy," he said.

He urged lawmakers to pass the four reforms listed in the grand jury report, including retroactivity.

Asked whether there will be more charges in the investigation, he told reporters this is "the third inning of a nine-inning game."

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