Abuse survivor: ‘There was no justice for me’

  • Ed Mahon/PA Post
WITF’s Brett Sholtis explains how the sale of Roundtop Mountain Resort in York County and 16 other ski resorts will profit the Sackler family, who made billions as the owners of Purdue Pharma, the drug company that flooded much of the United States with highly addictive pain pills. Pam Gay, the coroner for York County who has handled many opioid-related deaths, was surprised to learn of the connection when contacted by Brett. And yes, Pennsylvania is one of many states and local governments suing the Sacklers over the opioid epidemic. –Ed Mahon, PA Post reporter

Debate over child sex abuse returns to Pa. Capitol

A rally participant holds up protest signs Wednesday Oct. 24, 2018, at the Capitol in Harrisburg, Pa. More than 100 people rallied at the state Capitol Wednesday following the Senate’s GOP majority’s decision last week to leave Harrisburg without voting on a bill that would give victims a two-year window to file lawsuits that would otherwise be outdated. (AP Photo/Jacqueline Larma)

  • Members of the state Senate Judiciary Committee spent Wednesday taking a long look at the statute of limitations in child sexual abuse cases. At this link you can read testimony from attorneys, abuse survivors, the state’s victim advocate and others.

  • PennLive’s Jan Murphy has highlights from the hearing. Her story notes that the Pa. Senate holds the fate of this legislation in its hands, as the state House is already on board.

  • The hearing came after failed efforts to make it easier for child victims of sexual abuse to sue abusers and enablers. Basically, lawmakers could move to lift the statute of limitations in these cases, allowing adults who were abused as children to seek redress against their alleged abusers and institutions that allowed the abuse to happen.

  • One victim, Jennifer Goetz, testified: “While I am glad [my abuser] is in prison unable to harm anymore children, there was no justice for me and the many others who had timed out due to Pennsylvania’s antiquated laws. The Attorney General’s office had to do complicated math to figure out that I timed out at age 15. In order for [my abuser] to have been charged with my sexual assault, I had to come forward while I was still 14 years old – still a child.” (Watch the hearing video on Facebook.)

  • USA TODAY looks at how the Catholic Church and Boy Scouts of America have lobbied against such changes to child abuse statutes. The USA TODAY story begins with state Rep. Tom Murt, a Montgomery County Republican, and describes how he was singled out by a priest for not not defending the church in its time of need.

  • The YDR’s Dylan Segelbaum has a story that ties together the actions of state Attorney General Josh Shapiro, the Boy Scouts, and the Catholic Church over the issue of child sexual abuse cases. Dylan looks at why Shapiro’s office recently argued against releasing a grand jury report from Franklin County about allegations of decades of sexual abuse allegedly committed by a former scoutmaster.

  • Shapiro’s office drew a distinction between that Franklin County case and the almost 900-page grand jury report, which described widespread sexual abuse at six Catholic dioceses across Pennsylvania that Shapiro’s office released last year.

Best of the rest

Jill Stein

AP Photo / Matt Rourke

Former Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein speaks outside the federal courthouse in Philadelphia, Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2019. Stein wants Pennsylvania to block Philadelphia from using new touchscreen machines it’s buying ahead of 2020’s elections and is threatening court action if it doesn’t do so promptly. (AP Photo / Matt Rourke)

  • Jill Stein, the 2016 Green Party presidential candidate, wants to block counties from using a specific model of voting machine manufactured by Omaha, Nebraska-based Election Systems & Software, Max Marin from Billy Penn reports. Philly plans to use those machines at a cost of $29 million. It all comes down to a lawsuit filed in the wake of the 2016 election and subsequent work to certify high-tech voting machines for use in Pa. The backstory is here, courtesy of PA Post‘s Emily Previti.

  • Previti also reports that Stein’s challenge in Philly could have ramifications for at least two other counties in the state. Read her story here.

  • StateImpact Pennsylvania’s Reid Frazier recently travelled to Scotland to follow Marcellus shale gas. Reid’s first story from the trip starts in Greene County, Pennsylvania with cattle farmer George Watson. “Like others in this gas-heavy part of the state, Watson is at the head of a global supply chain. It begins on his farm and ends up as plastics and chemicals half a world away, as the plastics industry increasingly relies on dirt-cheap American shale gas to feed its chemical plants and the globe’s growing hunger for plastics,” Reid writes.

  • Funding for Pennsylvania’s 121 state parks hasn’t kept pace with inflation, according to the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. WITF’s Katie Meyer has the details.

  • Katie also looks ahead to the Nov. 5 municipal election in which Marsy’s Law will be on the ballot. The legislation would add certain victim rights into the state constitution — which the state’s victim advocate says would allow victims to motion the court if they think their constitutional rights have been violated. The American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania is opposed, saying the changes would give the government more power in prosecuting cases.

  • In a new poll, a majority of registered voters in Erie County said if the 2020 election were held today, they would choose former vice president Joe Biden over Republican President Donald Trump. It was 52 percent to 38 percent in favor of Biden. U.S. Senators Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Bernie Sanders of Vermont also beat Trump in a head-to-head matchup, the poll from the Mercyhurst Center for Applied Politics found. Erie County flipped to Trump in 2016.

  • Gov. Tom Wolf will be interviewed live at 1 p.m. ET today as part of the regular Keystone Crossroads’ “Ask Gov. Wolf” radio program. The program will air live on public radio stations statewide — WHYY (southeast PA), WITF (central PA), WESA (western PA) and WPSU (State College). [I participated in the last one.]

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