Over the many months of the current PA Legislature’s session our team has continued to monitor for legislative efforts that will protect children from sexual predators and provide some measure of justice for CSA victims. Most recently there were several pieces of legislation signed into law by Gov. Corbett including the following changes:
- Designated state licensing boards will now be required to provide training on child abuse recognition and reporting.
- New provisions clarify who is mandated to report child abuse and the reporting process they must follow to report suspected abuse to the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare.
- Employees will now be protected from discrimination in the workplace as a result of reporting suspected abuse.
- Penalties will increase for those required to report supposed abuse but fail to do so.
Additionally a bill providing for stable funding of Child Advocacy Centers (CACs) in PA was also signed by Gov. Corbett. CACs are multidisciplinary treatment programs for abused children, which brings together doctors, nurses, prosecutors, social workers and law enforcement. This approach gives abused children the best chance to recover and also provides the most effective way to gather evidence to bring perpetrators to justice. There are currently 21 CACs in PA.
However, although more than one dozen “child protection” laws have been enacted to date, none enable the removal of known pedophiles.
One champion for this much needed legislation is Rep. Mark Rozzi. Rep. Rozzi represents part of Berks County. He and some childhood friends were victims of CSA. Rep. Rozzi has introduced several pieces of legislation to help protect children and promote justice for victims.
Please join us in Harrisburg on Wednesday April 30thto support Rep. Mark Rozzi’s HB 2067 and after the press conference join one of our teams who will be meeting with key legislators to ask for their support of this important legislation.
PRESS CONFERENCE INFO:
Rep. Mark Rozzi Press Conference on HB 2067
WHEN: Wed. April 30, 2014 at 10:00 AM
WHERE: Capitol Media Center, Room 1 East Wing of Capitol, Harrisburg, PA
MEETING WITH LEGISLATORS:
If you are interested in joining one of our teams who will be meeting with legislators after the press conference, please contact Tammy Lerner at 610-509-9568 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org to sign on. You will need to arrive at our legislative team’s office across from the Capitol Building in Harrisburg no later than 9:00 AM to review plans for the day.
MORE INFO RE: HB 2067:
HB 2067 does several things:
- Going forward, it permanently eliminates the SOL for child sex abuse, both criminally (now to age 50) and civilly (now to age 30)
- As a compromise, it does allow for previously time-barred victims (up to age 50) to bring suit.
- If the perpetrator was employed by a public or private entity that owed a duty of care for the victim, damages against the entity may be awarded with a finding of “gross negligence”.
- Add “child sex abuse” as an exception to immunity laws thereby removing the “sovereign immunity” defense for public officials and institutions.
Why this legislation is important:
- Victims deserve their day in court.
- It takes courage (and often decades) for children to acknowledge abuse.
- Perpetrators and responsible entities have not been held accountable.
- Perpetrators are still involved with children.
- Perpetrators have been deliberately shielded from prosecution.
- The SOL laws are arbitrary and archaic.
- Only lawmakers have the power to enact laws to protect the public.
- Although more than one dozen “child protection” laws have been enacted to date, none enable the removal of known pedophiles.
- HB 2067 is sound public policy.
Below is part of an e-mail Rep. Rozzi recently sent to his colleagues to encourage them to support HB 2067:
“Once again I am appealing to the sense of civic responsibility that leads every one of us to seek public office. As legislators, we have an obligation to institute laws that safeguard our citizens… especially those who cannot protect themselves.
“We read how venerable institutions, insulated by outdated laws, have not only allowed the victimization of children….but have exposed countless others to the horrors of sexual abuse. The problem will NEVER GO AWAY as long as perpetrators are shielded. Witness Sandusky, the Boy Scouts, any religious organization, and any school system…public or private.
“We have learned that victims of child sex abuse often take decades to acknowledge their demons and that they rarely make false claims. We know that perpetrators can’t stop abusing. But if we can give survivors of child sex abuse the opportunity to expose predators through accessing records to support their claims, without the constraints of arbitrary statutes of limitations, than this will go a long way to stop the abuse of the next generation of children.
“I implore you to co-sponsor my legislation, House Bill 2067 and call upon the Chairmen of the Judiciary Committee to at least hold a meeting on the merits of the measure. On behalf of all victims of child sexual abuse, I thank you in advance for your consideration and support.”