HARRISBURG — Victims’ rights legislation related to childhood sexual abuse has passed the Pennsylvania General Assembly and taken an important step to becoming a constitutional amendment.
House Bill 963
, authored by Rep. Jim Gregory (R-Blair), would provide a two-year window to submit claims in civil court if the statute of limitations has already expired for that victim.
House Bill 963 passed the House in April and the Senate on Wednesday.
Its companion bill, House Bill 962
sponsored by Rep. Mark Rozzi (D-Berks), would allow childhood victims to file suit until they reach age 55. That age is currently 30 under the statute of limitations.
House Bill 962 would also remove the statute of limitations altogether for criminal cases.
House Bill 962 was voted out of the Senate with an amendment this week and returns to the House for a concurrence vote.
The bills are together known as the Hidden Predator Act.
“For too long the survivors of childhood sexual abuse have been kept in silence. They are waiting on the legislature to help them find justice and closure,” Gregory said. “I urge the governor to sign these bills to give survivors the voice they need in civil and criminal courts.”
To become a constitutional amendment, the bills in the Hidden Predator Act would need to be approved in the next legislative session and then go before voters as a referendum question.
Gregory’s bill seeks to amend Section 11 of Article 1 of the Pennsylvania Constitution (known as the Remedies Clause) to create the two-year window for civil claims.
Representative Jim Gregory
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Jennifer Fitch