The Pennsylvania House of Representatives voted 161 – 40 on Friday to pass a constitutional amendment allowing a two-year timeframe for victims of childhood sexual abuse to file a civil lawsuit against their abusers, regardless of when the abuse took place. This means that even if the abuse occured outside of the statute of limitations, survivors could still file a civil lawsuit. The amendment would also allow survivors to file lawsuits against any institution, such as school districts, churches, or government entities, that they proclaim to have covered up the abuse they endured.
The House was in a partisan gridlock for the better part of two months following a previous special session. House Speaker Mark Rozzi (D – Berks County), traveled across the state in January and February to discuss ways to end the gridlock. As a result of these discussions, he introduced a similar bill that would create the same two-year window through legislation rather than a constitutional amendment. Both bills were passed and will be brought to the Pennsylvania State Senate in the upcoming week.
Rozzi, a childhood sexual abuse survivor, has championed for the amendment to be passed. He stated, “Might I remind everybody in this chamber, when you think about these children being sexually assaulted, being raped, that you put yourself in my position as a 13-year-old boy being raped in the shower. Do you think I knew what the statute of limitations was? And that my statute of limitations was two years? That’s why we’re giving these two years back to these victims. And they sure as hell deserve them.”
To appear on the ballot during November’s general election, the house and the senate must pass the constitutional amendment in its current form.
Learn more by reading this article by The Philly Voice.
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