Pennsylvania has become the last state to allow expert testimony in sexual assault court cases.
Adams County District Attorney Shawn Wagner says some sexual assault victims don’t immediately report their abuse, and may keep in contact with their abuser.
He says hearing from an expert on sexual abuse in court can help explain that kind of response.
“Jury members unaided by this expert testimony may interpret victim behavior in flawed and biased ways according to their own erroneous beliefs,” Wagner said.
The law, which will take effect in late August, is a product of six years of work in the legislative wings.
Its supporters acknowledge that it was buoyed by the national attention on two high-profile sexual abuse cases in Pennsylvania.
One involved convicted pedophile Jerry Sandusky, a former assistant football coach at Penn State.
The other was the case of Monsignor William Lynn, who was convicted in Philadelphia of covering up abuses perpetrated by Catholic priests