Pa. measure on child abuse attracts attacks amid legislative uncertainty

A bill extending the statute of limitations on child abuse cases has struggled to make it through the legislature. (AP Photo, file)

A bill extending the statute of limitations on child abuse cases has struggled to make it through the legislature. (AP Photo, file)

A proposal to retroactively extend the statute of limitations in child abuse cases in Pennsylvania is getting renewed blowback from national Catholic organizations.

Rick Hinshaw, a spokesman for the national Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, said his group is always tracking bills that aim to make it harder to sue the church for old abuse cases beyond the statute of limitations.

The one they’ve had on their radar for a while in Pennsylvania is championed by Democratic Representative Mark Rozzi of Berks County. It would give abuse victims 20 additional years to sue retroactively, and abolish the statute of limitations going forward.

Now, they’ve released a statement bashing the bill — prompted by whispers that it’s encountering difficulties passing the legislature.

“In principle, we oppose an endless lookback,” Hinshaw said, “but it’s made even more offensive by the fact that it just singles out private institutions, and particularly the Catholic Church.”

Rozzi didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

But he recently told the Allentown Morning Call, House Speaker Mike Turzai has informed him he’s not supporting the retroactive proposal anymore, after seeing it through the House two years ago.

Turzai’s office has also not responded.

Hinshaw said the Catholic League would support an alternative bill to rid of the statute of limitations going forward, but not retroactively.

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