More child sex abuse bills advance in Pennsylvania House

Tony Romeo
April 16, 2019 - 4:00 am
Pennsylvania capitol building in Harrisburg

Bodhichita/Getty Images


HARRISBURG, Pa. (KYW Newsradio) -- Two more bills crafted on recommendations from the grand jury that investigated clergy child sexual abuse in Pennsylvania has advanced in the state House.  

Legislation intended to reform the statute of limitations on child sex abuse passed the House last week.

Now the House Children and Youth Committee has advanced a bill, sponsored by Montgomery County Republican Todd Stephens, based on a grand jury recommendation to clarify and strengthen penalties for someone who is required to report suspected abuse and fails to do so.

“They saw officials that were aware that a priest was abusing a child yet nonetheless they failed to report that abuse,” Stephens said. “And so they thus subjected additional children to abuse. And that deserves a higher penalty under the crimes code.”

Another bill that cleared the House Judiciary Committee clarifies that civil non-disclosure agreements in child sex abuse cases do not prohibit speaking to law enforcement.

The sponsor says that the law already provides for that, but specifying it is necessary because many victims do not understand that.