READING, Pa. (AP/KDKA) — Pennsylvania has enacted a law to give future victims of child sexual abuse more time to sue, and to end time limits for authorities to file criminal charges.
The legislation was signed Tuesday morning by Gov. Tom Wolf.
Wolf also signed companion legislation to invalidate secrecy agreements that prevent child sexual abuse victims from talking to investigators.
The third bill will increase and clarify penalties for people who are required to report suspected child abuse, but don’t.
Gov. Wolf said in a press release: “After tireless and passionate work on the part of so many, especially countless brave victims, these bills will today become law, and victims of one of the most unimaginable forms of abuse will receive the support and rights they deserve. And while we celebrate the monumental victory of many survivors of childhood sexual abuse finally receiving their opportunity for justice, we must continue pushing forward until every survivor, of every age, has the chance to tell his or her story.”
WATCH: Pa. Governor And AG Hold News Conference —
Lawmakers have also begun the multi-year process of trying to amend the state constitution to give now-adult victims of prior abuse a two-year window to file lawsuits.
In a press release, Attorney General Josh Shapiro said: “These reforms fundamentally change our justice system and will protect generations of children who experience abuse from this day on. While we still must address justice for those survivors who made this day possible, seeing this progress gives me hope that bravery and activism will win over entrenched interests and powerful institutions.”
A landmark grand jury report last year found 300 Roman Catholic clergy sexually abused Pennsylvania children over seven decades.
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