The support for victims of clergy sexual abuse, as far as Attorney General Josh Shapiro is concerned, must not waiver and must grow in strength.
During a press conference and roundtable discussion, Shapiro highlighted the need for the legislature to approve four reforms that have been recommended by a statewide grand jury that investigated sexual abuse by Catholic church clergy and the institutional cover up, writes Marian Dennis the The Times Herald.
“Five weeks ago my office released the 40th state-wide investigative grand jury report detailing child sexual abuse and institutional coverup by the Catholic Church. With its release, Pennsylvanians and the nation, and the world were able to understand for the first time the scope and the scale of decades of child sexual abuse by Catholic priests across our Commonwealth,” Shapiro said.
The grand jury’s 884-page report detailed years of sexual abuse by over 300 Catholic priests that were covered up. Shapiro noted that only two of those 301 priests were charged, citing what he called “weak laws here in the Commonwealth.”
As the law stands now, victims can only come forward until the age of 50, which would be eliminated completely under recommended reforms.
Additionally, current law only gives victims of child sex abuse 12 years to sue after they turn 18. Reforms would allow for a two-year window so that victims can sue for damages.
The grand jury also found that the Catholic Church had used confidentiality agreements to silence victims and, with the new statute, victims could not be prohibited from speaking to authorities.
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