PA Sexual Abuse Lawyers

Seeking Justice: Reforming Statute of Limitations for Victims of Sexual Abuse

In 2018, the state of Pennsylvania witnessed a significant turning point in the fight against sexual abuse when the PA Attorney General issued findings from its Grand Jury investigation into the pervasive issue of sexual abuses within the Catholic Church. This investigation uncovered a harrowing truth – the statute of limitations had expired for many victims, leaving them without a legal remedy and a chance for justice. However, since that time, there have been concerted efforts by the legislature to address this grievous injustice and provide a pathway for victims to seek the justice they deserve. These efforts are now on the verge of becoming a reality, as Pennsylvania takes significant steps toward reforming the statute of limitations for victims of sexual abuse.

The Current Landscape:
Currently, there are three separate bills awaiting consideration in the Pennsylvania legislature, each designed to address the pressing issue of the statute of limitations reform in cases of sexual abuse. These bills represent a beacon of hope for survivors, as they aim to provide them with the legal means to seek justice and hold their abusers and institutions accountable for their actions.

1. House Bill 962:
House Bill 962 stands as a crucial piece of legislation that aims to extend the civil statute of limitations for child victims of sexual abuse to the age of 55. Furthermore, this bill seeks to remove government immunity going forward, ensuring that those responsible for these heinous acts cannot escape accountability through legal loopholes. By extending the statute of limitations, House Bill 962 acknowledges the complex and lasting trauma that survivors of child sexual abuse endure, recognizing that time should not be a barrier to justice.

2. House Bill 963:
House Bill 963 takes a bold step by calling for a constitutional amendment that opens a two-year window of opportunity for child victims previously time-barred. This window would provide survivors with a unique chance to seek legal recourse, even if their cases were previously deemed too old to be pursued. By proposing this constitutional amendment, Pennsylvania is demonstrating its commitment to ensuring that justice knows no time constraints when it comes to survivors of sexual abuse.

3. Senate Bill 540:
Senate Bill 540 is perhaps the most comprehensive and far-reaching of the proposed reforms. This bill fully abolishes the civil statute of limitations for both child and adult victims of sexual abuse. It also creates a two-year retroactive window, allowing those previously time-barred, regardless of age, to have an opportunity to file a lawsuit against their abuser and the institutions that knowingly concealed the abuse. Senate Bill 540 is a clear declaration that Pennsylvania will not tolerate the cover-up of sexual abuse and will provide survivors with the means to seek justice, no matter how long ago the abuse occurred.

Schemery Zicolello: A Beacon of Support and Advocacy
For victims of child sexual abuse in Pennsylvania, Schemery Zicolello is a trusted source of support and advocacy. If you are a survivor seeking justice, you can call Schemery Zicolello at 570-800-HELP and ask to speak with Mike Zicolello for a free and discreet consultation. Schemery Zicolello is a successful plaintiff personal injury and civil rights firm in Pennsylvania with a deep commitment to helping survivors of sexual abuse navigate the legal system and seek the justice they deserve.

The efforts to reform the statute of limitations for victims of sexual abuse in Pennsylvania represent a critical step toward justice and accountability. House Bill 962, House Bill 963, and Senate Bill 540 are testaments to the state’s commitment to ensuring that survivors have the opportunity to seek justice, regardless of the time that has passed. By supporting these reforms and seeking the assistance of organizations like Schemery Zicolello, survivors can take a significant step towards healing and holding those responsible for their trauma accountable for their actions. Pennsylvania is on the brink of making meaningful change, and together, we can ensure that justice is served for survivors of sexual abuse.