Grand jury makes recommendations after child sex abuse investigation

 

There are four recommendations in the report that the grand jury investigating child sex abuse crimes in the Catholic Church thinks needs to be law.

"I hope what's contained in the grand jury report is going to provide an impetus for legislators to say, 'OK we do need to find justice for the victims here,'" said Pennsylvania Representative Michael Schlossberg.

The grand jury recommends four things be done:

Eliminate the statute of limitations for sexually abusing children Create a two-year civil window for sex abuse victims who couldn't file lawsuits before Clarify the penalties for a continuing failure to report child abuse Prohibit "non-disclosure" agreements regarding cooperation with law enforcement "The non-disclosure agreements, and the clarifying language, those are easy fixes. The first two, expanding the statute of limitations, and the two-year window, those are going to be really tough pushes," said Schlossberg.

In 2017, the Pennsylvania House of Representative did pass a bill that would give child sex abuse victims until the age of 50 to report a crime. Currently, victims have from when they are 18 to the age of 30.

The calls for reform are coming from both sides of the aisle and from Catholics and non- Catholics as well.

State representative Craig Staats, who identifies as a devout Catholic, said in a written statement, "I will review any and all legislative recommendations and help ensure the safety of children in their church, as well as make sure that these situations do not continue to occur in the Catholic church."

It's unclear when any new legislative proposals would be introduced in the House or Senate.

Since the report was released yesterday, State Attorney General Josh Shapiro says his office has received more than 150 calls and emails from people wanting to tell their story and seek justice.