Parker Waichman LLP’s Sex Abuse Attorneys Fight For Victims’ Rights and Full Compensation
Pennsylvania Senate Judiciary Committee Advances Bill That Lifts Expired Statute of Limitations For Some Sex Abuse Victims Lawsuits
According to several news reports, including pennlive.com, Pennsylvania’s Senate Judiciary Committee voted to advance a bill that permits sex abuse victims to file lawsuits that would have barred under the state’s statute of limitations. The bill will now go to the Pennsylvania Senate floor for a full vote. An announcement that the bill has advanced to the Senate floor comes two days after hundreds of sexual abuse victims assembled at the Pennsylvania Capitol, imploring the Senate Committee to approve the measure that will reform the statute of limitations in certain sexual abuse cases.
The bill’s sponsors affirmed that the proposed law would open a two-year retroactive window for sex abuse victims to bring civil lawsuits that would have otherwise been barred in accordance with Pennsylvania’s statute of limitations. In other words, sexual abuse victims who missed the deadline to file a civil lawsuit against sexual predators and/or the institutions that disregarded their sexual abuse allegations would be given two additional years to file their suit. Once law, victims could go to court seeking monetary compensation even if their claims are years or decades past the statute of limitations.
Federal and State Laws are designed to protect children, young adults, adults, and the elderly from sexual predators and punish those who perpetrate and/or those with the power to stop the abuse but fail to act. Moreover, once this new bill becomes law, many more people will be able to seek financial compensation from those who committed these unthinkable acts.
If you or a loved one are a survivor of sex abuse, take your power back and seek the justice you or your loved one deserves by contacting Parker Waichman for your free, confidential consultation. Our firm cares, and we have recovered millions of dollars in monetary compensation on behalf of our clients. Our clients pay no upfront costs or fees for our legal representation, and we only receive a part of any jury award or settlement our firm has recovered for you.
CONTACT PARKER WAICHMAN LLP FOR YOUR FREE CASE REVIEW
Parker Waichman LLP helps victims and families receive justice and full monetary compensation for harm caused by sexual predators. Trust your case with our compassionate and justice-seeking attorneys. For your free and confidential consultation, please call our law firm at 1-800-YOUR-LAWYER (1-800-968-7529) or use our website’s live chat feature.
Empowering Victims to Bring Their Predators to Justice
Pennsylvania’s Senate has tried to pass similar measures in the past. This new bill is crucial because the bill would allow victims of childhood sexual abuse whose legal right to bring their predators to justice has expired. In the past, Pennsylvania’s Legislature has blocked these proposed measures. However, House Bill 951 has received the majority of the judiciary committee’s support and leadership.
Judiciary Committee Chairwoman Senator Lisa Baker stated that her views about the proposal have changed. She stated that she changed her views once she looked the victims in the eyes and then looked at herself in the mirror of her own conscience. She urged the panel members to support the measure, stating that the “brave men and women, who had endured years of trauma, deserved justice.” Judiciary Committee Chairwoman Baker also amended the bill to waive sovereign immunity against lawsuits that are typically granted to public institutions such as public schools. Also, private entities, such as youth organizations or places of worship, could be held liable under the law as public institutions.
This new bill would also meet the recommendations handed by the 40th Statewide Grand Jury back in 2018. The clergy abuse case uncovered systemic and extensive sexual abuse of children by more than 300 clergymen.
The bill, as amended, also grants “the Pennsylvania Supreme Court “extraordinary” jurisdiction to hear challenges on the law or render declaratory judgment regarding its constitutionality.”
Pennsylvania voters were expecting to vote on a referendum in the next primary that would amend Pennsylvania’s Constitution. The amendment would grant childhood sexual abuse survivors, who could not file a civil lawsuit against their attacker beyond the age of 30, a two-year window to file their “time-barred” civil suits against their abusers. However, in February, the Department of State affirmed that the department failed to advertise the referendum in advance of November’s election.
According to Senator John Gordner, should the Supreme Court approve the bill, it changes the state’s constitution, it shapes how we deal with these matters in the future, and there are no legal defenses that cannot be overturned by statute. The bill now moves to the full Senate for a potential vote.
States like New York have enacted similar sex abuse laws that provide a window of opportunity for victims of childhood sexual abuse to bring their claims. The New York State Child Victims Act extended the time victims of childhood sexual abuse have to file their claims. This was due, in part, to the numerous high-profile sex abuse scandals to come out in recent years, such as the Jeffrey Epstein sex abuse cases.
The Prevalence of Child Sexual Abuse Cases
According to the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), one in five children will be sexually abused before they reach 18 years of age. The FBI statistics show that a significant number of sexual predators are “lifelong predators” who abuse dozens of children. Unfortunately, only a small number of those abused report the incidents. It is estimated that only 10% of sex offenders are reported to law enforcement. Many victims are unable to discuss their abuse for several years after the attack. Oftentimes, victims endure predator intimidation or post-traumatic stress disorder, or both. This means thousands of pedophiles, those who sexually abuse children, are allowed to continue to live their lives as normal. In many cases, these predators are living and working with or around children.
The “silent epidemic” of childhood sexual abuse is especially harmful when the crime of sexual abuse is covered up no justice is obtained due to unfavorable state statutes. In many cases, institutions engage in deception and intimidation tactics to discourage sex abuse victims from exploring legal recourse until the statute of limitations has run out. Our firm believes that the statute of limitations in sex abuse cases is unfair to the victims and makes it easy for criminals and negligent institutions to conspire and escape civil penalties by covering up crimes.
GET LEGAL HELP NOW IN YOUR A CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE LAWSUIT
Our sex abuse lawsuit attorneys at Parker Waichman LLP offer free, confidential child sexual abuse case evaluation. For more information, please fill out our online contact form or call 1-800-YOURLAWYER (1-800-968-7529).
New York | Brooklyn | Queens | Long Island | New Jersey | Florida
Call us at: 1-800-YOURLAWYER (800-968-7529) | Schedule your free consultation