Gov. Wolf Demands Amendments of State Law to Give Justice to Sexual Abuse Victims by Priests

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Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf
Image source: Flickr

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf demanded that the Pennsylvania legislature amend state law to allow victims to file lawsuits over sexual abuse that happened to them decades ago.

In a statement, the governor reaffirmed his support for proposals in the grand jury’s report on sexual abuse in the Catholic Church and called on state lawmakers to take action.

“The horrifying abuse endured by an unimaginable number of victims demands swift and substantial action,” Wolf said. “Let’s be clear: Many victims were coerced and suppressed from coming forward by an institution they felt obligated to respect.”

The grand jury’s recommendations included:

  • Eliminating the criminal statute of limitations for sexually abusing children.
  • Creating a “civil window” so older victims can sue for damages.
  • Clarifying penalties for a continuing failure to report child abuse.
  • Specifying that civil confidentiality agreements do not cover communications with law enforcement.

Currently, state law only allows victims of sexual abuse to file criminal charges until age 50, and pursue civil lawsuits until age 30.