Lawmakers change course on legislation for child sex abuse victims

HARRISBURG, Pa. (KYW Newsradio) — Lawmakers pushing for legislation to give victims of child sex abuse new opportunities to seek justice are making a major change in their strategy. 

Victims of child sex abuse have long sought legislation that would, essentially, expand the statute of limitations retroactively so that lawsuits can be filed. Such legislation has passed the House but stalled in the Senate, where members of that chamber expressed concerns about whether it violated the state constitution. 

On Monday, the House Judiciary Committee advanced a bill that would seek a retroactive lawsuit window through an amendment to the state constitution – a different and longer process than ordinary legislation. 

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Democrat Mark Rozzi has championed the issue in the state House.

“You say longer process, but really, I mean, if we pass a statutory change, it could be (held up) in the courts for years when it’s challenged,” he said. 

Rozzi says amending the state constitution would make it less likely the change would held up by court challenges. He says what has been tried before has not worked. 

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