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Bills would address child sex abuse cases in Pa.

By Kimberly Davidow, Reporter
Published On: Mar 17 2013 07:00:00 PM CDT
Updated On: Mar 18 2013 05:33:40 PM CDT

A recent $10 million settlement with priest abuse victims in the Los Angeles area is helping to fuel a new push in Pennsylvania.

HARRISBURG, Pa. -

A recent $10 million settlement with priest abuse victims in the Los Angeles area is helping to fuel a new push in Pennsylvania.

In the California case, extending the statute of limitations was key. Two Pennsylvania lawmakers in our region said the same is needed here to help local victims.

Pa. Rep. Michael McGeehan, of Philadelphia, and Pa. Rep. Mark Rozzi, of Berks County, introduced their newest amendments, which would open a two-year window for victims of sexual abuse to file civil charges in cases where the statute of limitations has expired.

"We're this close to passing important legislation, bringing a new chapter in this commonwealth, putting victims first," said McGeehan.

The amendments, 188 and 189, are in conjunction with House Bill 342, which would prevent child sexual abuse victims' names from be publicized.

"People of positions of power have looked away when it comes to child sexual abuse. I want my voice to carry through these halls, and I want every person out there to know that I will not look the other way," said Rozzi, adding that he was sexually abused by a priest when he was 13-years-old. "You have to find the courage within to say enough is enough. It's going to give the victims a chance to have their voices heard."

House Bill 342 was originally scheduled for a vote last week, but that didn't happen. State lawmakers said a new date for the House to vote on the bill has not been set, however, it could happen after lawmakers are back in session from their Easter break.

"I stand before you today for one simple reason, to let victims have their voices heard and not just in the rotunda steps, but in a court of law," said Rozzi.