Senate vote to remove time limits in abuse cases seems unlikely

Local

The Pennsylvania Senate has just two days to approve legislation that would allow more victims of childhood sexual abuse to seek justice against their attackers.

The Senate is scheduled to convene Tuesday afternoon, but Senate Bill 261 is not on the marked calendar. Unless senators are called back to Harrisburg, the last day of the legislative session is Wednesday.

Senate Bill 261 would end prosecution time limits in criminal cases. Current law bars prosecution after a victim turns 50.

In civil cases, victims would have until age 50 to file a lawsuit. The current age is 30.

An amendment added in the House would open a two-year window for victims in cases where the limitation period has already expired.

Some in the Senate oppose that language, saying the courts would likely find in unconstitutional.

Changes to the statute of limitations law were recommended by the grand jury that found more than 300 Roman Catholic priests and other clergy members sexually abused children since the 1940’s.

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