Everyday thousands of children are being sexually abused. You can stop the abuse of at least one child by simply praying. You can possibly stop the abuse of thousands of children by forwarding the link in First Time Visitor? by email, Twitter or Facebook to every Christian you know. Save a child or lots of children!!!! Do Something, please!

3:15 PM prayer in brief:
Pray for God to stop 1 child from being molested today.
Pray for God to stop 1 child molestation happening now.
Pray for God to rescue 1 child from sexual slavery.
Pray for God to save 1 girl from genital circumcision.
Pray for God to stop 1 girl from becoming a child-bride.
If you have the faith pray for 100 children rather than one.
Give Thanks. There is more to this prayer here

Please note: All my writings and comments appear in bold italics in this colour

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Pennsylvania Senate Passes Child Sex Abuse Bill that Lifts Some Time Limits for Lawsuits

Steve Esack Contact Reporter
Call Harrisburg Bureau

Pennsylvania State Senate chamber

Without debate and by voice vote Wednesday, the state Senate approved a bill to lift time limits and give some child sex abuse victims more time to sue their alleged abusers and any employers who protected them

The bill now moves to the House, where its fate is unknown. Many lawmakers oppose it because it gives victims 31 or older the option of retroactively suing their perpetrator.

Final Senate approval came two days after the bill was resurrected this legislative session by Senate President pro Tempore Joe Scarnati, R-Jefferson.

In doing so the Senate got a leg up on the House, which last year led the charge on tougher civil and criminal penalties for child sex abuse.

Representatives acted after a statewide grand jury report accused two Catholic bishops of allowing at least 50 priests and other religious leaders to sexually abuse hundreds of children for five decades in the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown. Lawmakers also were moved last year by Democratic Rep. Mark Rozzi's emotional public testimony about his own abuse at the hands of an Allentown Diocese priest when he was 13.

Pennsylvania State Capitol

In March, the House approved a bill giving some adults an additional 20 years to sue for past abuse they may have endured as children. The House bill raised the age limit for old lawsuits from 30 to 50. The House bill also erased the statute of limitations on when future criminal sex-abuse charges can be filed, meaning sex charges could be brought any time after alleged abuse occurred.

When the bill moved to the Senate, senators kept the criminal provision for new cases, but removed the retroactive civil lawsuit clause, which was opposed by two powerful lobbying groups — the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference and the Insurance Federation of Pennsylvania.

Insurance companies should not be allowed to lobby governments!

Like the lobbying groups and some legal experts, senators believed the state Supreme Court would deem the retroactive lawsuits unconstitutional, which could jeopardize the legality of the whole bill. Rather than allow lawsuits on old cases, the Senate removed time limits for a future victim or a victim who is not yet 30 to sue the abuser and anyone who may have known about it and failed to report it to authorities.

A majority of Republican and House lawmakers disagreed with the Senate's legal opinion, so the chamber's GOP leadership let the Senate version die without a vote.

While lawmakers debated, the attorney general's office launched another grand jury investigation in six of the state's eight Catholic dioceses, including Allentown. The ongoing investigation is examining church records and taking testimony to determine if officials in those dioceses participated in the same coverup schemes as occurred in Altoona-Johnstown and Philadelphia Archdiocese.

The Senate bill is an exact copy of the failed bill, and Scarnati said he is ready to negotiate with the House on every provision — but the retroactivity clause.

"It's not that I don't stand with victims; I stand with the Constitution," Scarnati said. "I detest what these victims suffered or allegedly suffered. This bill will do much good for those moving forward."

Amy Hill, spokeswoman for the Catholic conference, said last year's civil statute of limitations debate drowned out the Catholic community's commitment to healing and recovery for victims.

"However the legislative debate proceeds, it will not diminish the Catholic Church's sincere commitment to the emotional well-being of individuals who have been impacted by the crime of childhood sexual abuse, no matter how long ago the crime was committed," Hill said. "We encourage anyone who is a survivor of abuse by someone in the Catholic Church to first contact authorities and report it, then contact their local diocese to get assistance for support services."

Rozzi, who represents Berks County, said Monday he appreciated the Senate's swift and somewhat surprising move to vote on the bill. But, he said, the retroactivity clause remains the most important piece of the bill as evidenced by the Altoona-Johnstown report, the ongoing grand jury investigation and calls many legislators are getting from past victims around the state.

"I'm happy we are going to get a chance to work on this right away," Rozzi said. "I've always said we don't need another grand jury to do the right thing and this is good public policy. If someone decided to challenge it in court, so be it."