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