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Help Child Abuse Survivors Access Pennsylvania Courts

This petition had 50 supporters


Help Survivors of Child Molestation Seek Justice in Pennsylvania – It’s Time to Reform Civil Statute of Limitations Laws

In recent years, there have been multiple large-scale child abuse and molestation scandals across the country. Several school abuse and church abuse cases have occurred in Pennsylvania.

Historically, criminal and civil statute of limitations laws in the U.S. have done a poor job of helping survivors get justice. Survivors of child molestation who want to seek justice often get doors slammed in their faces and are unable to access the courts.

Oftentimes, perpetrators such as educators, clergy members, medical professionals, etc., are beyond the reach of state statute of limitations laws. It's time to change that in Pennsylvania.

PA Lawmakers are Considering a Special Law Which Increases Access to Courts

The Pennsylvania legislature is currently considering two important bills, House Bill 951 and Senate Bill 770. These bills would create a new law, a civil window or special time period of 2 years within which to file a civil child molestation lawsuit.

This civil window would give survivors of abuse, whose cases were previously time-barred, the opportunity to file civil lawsuits against perpetrators. For a period of two years after enactment, survivors of molestation in Pennsylvania would be able to resurrect old cases.

Other states have enacted similar laws. Delaware was one of the first states to pass one of these laws in 2007. Most recently, Georgia has passed such a law, effective this year.

As a result of Delaware's civil window, a man filed a civil child molestation lawsuit against a Delaware state court judge for decades-old abuse that occurred in the 1970s. This man won his civil case, even though the criminal statute of limitations had expired. The judge admitted to the abuse, was later removed from the bench and was also disbarred.

This case exemplifies the primary reason for statute of limitations reform--individuals who molest children can be held accountable for their actions, years and even decades later.

By signing this petition, you are letting Pennsylvania legislators know that you expect them to take action on behalf of survivors of abuse.

This petition was created by Brian Kent, a Pennsylvania and New Jersey lawyer and former sex crimes unit prosecutor. Mr. Kent routinely represents victims of crime including survivors of child molestation.



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