• Petitioned David W. Heckler

This petition was delivered to:

Chairman of Pennsylvania's Task Force on Child Protection
David W. Heckler
Pennsylvania's Task Force on Child Protection
William Strickland
Pennsylvania's Task Force on Child Protection
Cindy W. Christian
Pennsylvania State Senator Greenleaf
Senator Stewart Greenleaf, R-Montgomery County chair of Senate Judiciary
Governor of Pennsylvania
Tom Corbett

Pass House Bill 1264 allowing experts to testify in sex assault cases

    1. Kathleen Murphy
    2. Petition by

      Kathleen Murphy

      Seattle, WA

Pennsylvania is the only state in the U.S. that does not allow experts to testify in sex abuse cases. House Bill 1264 would allow experts to address questions about victim behavior in sex assault cases, including why a person abused in childhood might wait for decades to report the assaults.

This bill has already passed in the State House in Pennsylvania by a 197-0 margin. But since last June 2011, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Senator Stewart Greenleaf, has not done a thing about it, telling the Philadelphia Weekly that he has concerns about it. (15 Dec 2011 'PA's Backward Expert-Witness Law Creates Advantage for Jerry Sandusky' by Tara Murtha)

Chillingly, as the trial for Sandusky approaches, the Wall Street Journal reports, "In Pennsylvania legal circles Mr. Amendola is known for attacking the credibility of alleged victims, especially those in sexual-assault cases." (16 Dec 2011 'Sandusky's Lawyer Defends Himself' by John W. Miller and Jennifer Smith)

With Sandusky's lawyer getting ready to attack the credibility of the alleged victims it is time for Sen. Greenleaf to stop stalling and pass 1264.

   "If victims finally get the courage to come forward and report the abuse, they should not be further victimized by having the very normal behaviors and reactions of a sex assault victim looked upon as abnormal by a court or jury who simply isn't educated in these things."

-Rep. Cherelle Parker, D-Philadelphia, co-sponsor of House Bill 1264

Recently, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett has named David Heckler as chairman of the Task Force on Child Protection -created in January 2012 to conduct a review of Pennsylvania's current laws and procedures governing child protection. This task force must also recognize that passing House Bill 1264 is a vital and necessary change to better protecting children from sexual predators.

Recent signatures


    1. Reached 250 signatures


    Reasons for signing

    • Betsy VanNoy STATE COLLEGE, PA
      • over 2 years ago

      The general public is either underinformed or misinformed about sexual assault. They think rapists are monsters and victims are angels. Allowing experts in the trial would be just. Jurors cannot make a lawful decision about whether a person is guilty or not guilty of rape if they think attractive college guys would never do it and that she's just out for money, fame, or she's mad at him for not pursuing a relationship. These beliefs have allowed rapists to continue raping, knowing that a conviction is highly unlikely.

    • Cap Amanda MECHANICSBURG, PA
      • over 2 years ago

      Because assault and rape victims need someone more on their side. If the victims of these horrible crimes are brave enough to come forward, then they should have an expert there to testify. And we are the only state that doesn't allow these experts...isn't that a red flag?

    • Brook Lauer CAMP HILL, PA
      • over 2 years ago

      Experts need to testify to help the in the healing process of the victims. It is their bravery for being there in the first place and the prosecutors need to understand why they wait until they do to come forward. It is criminal not to allow experts testify. It is against the whole justice system to not.

    • Betty Fisher PITTBURGH, PA
      • over 2 years ago

      It is extremely important that judges and juries understand the dynamics of child sexual abuse and its impact on survivors if we are to have a judicial system that can adequately respond to sexual abuse charges.

    • jill tuttle VERONA, PA
      • over 2 years ago

      Because sexual violence is a very complicated dynamic individuals in the field of law don't understand or aren't aware of. The experts are needed.


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