The current statute of limitations for victims of child sex crimes is currently set to end when the victim turns 30 years old. A measure that just passed the Pennsylvania House would up that age to 50 years old. The measure still has to pass the Senate before it could be signed into law. If it is passed, the measure would be retroactive, so it could apply to cases that involve abuse that occurred under the current law.
Interestingly, opponents of this change were concerned with the monetary impact that this increase could have on institutions, such as the Catholic Church. The Catholic Conference’s spokesperson noted that similar changes in other states have led to an influx of lawsuits that caused schools, parishes, and social services to have to close.
On the other side of the matter are the advocates for this change. These individuals note that the increased window to report the issues is important because it can take victims decades to acknowledge the sexual abuse they suffered.
It is important to note that the increase from 30 years old to 50 years old pertains to civil lawsuits that victims can file. The measure that recently passed the House also included a change in the option to file criminal charges against an alleged sexual abuser. That change would abolish the statute of limitations for criminal charges in cases involving child sex abuse.
Fighting back against criminal charges that are based on events from decades ago could present a signficant challenge. If you are facing this type of allegation, you should make sure that you begin working on your side of the case immediately.
Source: Philly.com, “Pa. House votes to extend window for child sex-abuse claims,” Angela Couloumbis and Caitlin McCabe, April 11, 2016