Pa. victim advocate says statute of limitations changes too timid

    Jennifer Storm

    Jennifer Storm

    State lawmakers are taking heat from Pennsylvania’s Office of Victim Advocate for their latest efforts to change the statutes of limitations in child sex abuse cases.

    Jennifer Storm said she supports a House plan to abolish the time limit for criminal child sex abuse cases, but she’s not thrilled that lawmakers are merely extending the statute of limitations on civil cases, giving victims until they’re 50 instead of 30 years old to file suit.

    Storm said that will add to the confusion surrounding Pennsylvania’s statutes of limitations in child sex abuse cases.

    “You have to literally have a calendar and a calculator to determine which victims have which rights,” said Storm.

    • WHYY thanks our sponsors — become a WHYY sponsor

    She also said she’s disappointed the proposal doesn’t apply to adult victims of sexual assault, some of whom can also take years to report such incidents.

    “It’s not just child victims who have delayed disclosure,” said Storm. “It’s all victims of sexual violence.”

    The statute of limitations changes are before the House. A legislative staffer said the changes would be prospective, applying to victims who suffer abuse after the bill is enacted. It would also apply to victims whose cases have not yet expired under the current time limits.

    The proposal’s consideration comes a month after a grand jury report was released documenting a clergy cover-up of child sex abuse at the Altoona-Johnstown Catholic diocese.

    Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

    Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal