Sex Abuse Amendment: What Could Happen for Childhood Sexual Abuse Survivors in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania Governor, Tom Wolf, called for a special session of the Pennsylvania General Assembly to take place on Monday, January 9th to consider a constitutional amendment that would allow for a two-year timeframe where sexual abuse survivors could file lawsuits against their abuser(s) outside of the current statute of limitations. If given approval by the General Assembly, the results of the special session held on January 9th would allow for this constitutional amendment to be passed and appear as a voter referendum on the primary ballots in May. Gov. Wolf stated, “This special session is a critical step to allow the General Assembly to focus their work on this important, and potentially lifesaving, task. No survivor should be denied the chance to hold their abuser accountable, regardless of how much time has passed.”

First introduced in 2019 as a response to the grand jury report accusing over three hundred priests across the Allentown, Erie, Greensburg, Harrisburg, Pittsburgh, and Scranton dioceses of child sexual abuse, the amendment was set to be added to the May 2021 primary election ballot, however, because the Department of State failed to advertise the amendment, the process had to be repeated. This amendment has strong support from both parties and is expected to pass. Learn more by reading this article by The Philadelphia Inquirer.

What could this amendment mean for childhood sexual abuse victims?

If this amendment is passed, survivors of childhood sexual abuse who did not press charges against their perpetrators could now file a lawsuit, regardless of whether the abuse occurred five, ten, twenty, or fifty years ago. There are a large number of childhood sexual abuse survivors who have long sought after an amendment like this to be passed as they have spent years healing from the trauma they endured. For many, one of the final steps of their journey to healing is seeing their abuser(s) be brought to justice and charged for their crimes.

Seeking justice after experiencing sexual abuse.

Sexual abuse is not limited to rape nor is sexual abuse limited to where it can occur. It can also include molestation, incest, and sexual harassment. Sexual abuse can occur within a household, daycare, school, church, nursing home, or workplace. Unfortunately, the vast majority of sexual abuse victims are not aware of their rights and do not report the abuse due to fear, shame, and embarrassment.

With an experienced and dedicated attorney fighting by your side, you may be able to receive compensation through civil litigation. In a civil litigation, victims of sexual abuse can bring claims against not only the perpetrator, but any person or organization that negligently allowed the abuse they endured to occur. If you or a loved one has experienced sexual abuse and are seeking justice against your abuser, contact our sexual abuse attorneys today. Friedman Schuman is here to help you get the justice you deserve.

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