Pennsylvania sex abuse legislation remains in limbo until next year

Tony Romeo
November 17, 2018 - 10:00 pm
Pennsylvania Sex Abuse

Tony Romeo | KYW Newsradio

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (KYW Newsradio) -- As expected, the state legislature this past week wrapped up work in the current two-year session without resolving the fight over legislation sought by victims of child sex abuse. 

The state Senate indicated it would return for one post-election day to re-elect leaders for the next session, and not to vote on legislation, and made good on that plan. Nonetheless, as members of the GOP Senate majority met behind closed doors, Cindy Leech of Johnstown stood in the hallway with a picture of her late son, a victim of clergy sex abuse and the drug abuse that followed.

“Just because they decided not to vote, we’re not going away," Leech said. "We’re going to show them that we’re bound and determined.”

A short time later, the top-ranking state senator, Republican Joe Scarnati, said not much had happened since the Senate had last met a month before.

READ: AG Shapiro pans proposal to exempt Catholic church from sex abuse lawsuits

“I have not heard back from anybody with a negotiation,” he said.

In cases where the statute of limitations has expired, victims want a window of retroactivity to file lawsuits. Scarnati has proposed a window to sue individuals, but not institutions like the church, a compromise that has so far been rejected.

KYW Newsradio: “Is that compromise, though, your starting point next year?”

“Look, I’m not going to draw any hard lines in the sand in an issue that’s months away,” Scarnati said.

Scarnati says he is pleased that some dioceses have acted on one of his proposals to create a compensation fund for victims.