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State senators weigh in on latest push to expand help for victims of childhood sex abuse

According to the Delaware County Daily Times, legislation involving justice for sexual abuse victims has support from two Delaware County senators — in fact, one even introduced the legislation to get it one step closer to law.

State Sen. Tim Kearney, D-26 of Swarthmore, was among a group of freshman legislators in introducing SB 540, which would eliminate the criminal and civil statute of limitations for sexual abuse, assault and misconduct victims whose abuse happened at any age; provide a 2-year civil window to revive previously expired SOL claims; and provide a 6-month delay to the window in which survivors who wish to voluntarily settle their claim outside the court system are able to do so.

“I wanted to get to Harrisburg to amplify the voices of those who’ve gone unheard for far too long,” Kearney said. “Trauma does not have an expiration date. We will not limit survivors’ opportunities to seek justice.”

“For too long, victims have had no recourse, unable to press charges after some artificial deadline has kicked in,” Kearney said. “This has resulted in zero consequences for many perpetrators while victims are left with lasting trauma, like PTSD, depression, anxiety and even suicide. The challenges for victims are further exacerbated by knowing they have no legal recourse, even as abusers go on putting still others at risk.”

According to a study done by the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN), 82 percent of sexual assault victims are between 18- to 64-years-old. In addition, the Bureau of Justice Statistics stated that only 36 percent of rapes, 34 percent of attempted rapes and 26 percent of sexual assaults were actually reported between 1992 and 2000.

Kearney’s bill also has support from state Sen. Tom Killion, R-9 of Middletown.

“Last year’s grand jury report was beyond horrific,” he said of the state attorney general’s report that evaluated abuse in six Pennsylvania dioceses. “It showed that 300 priests sexually abused 1,000 children over 70 years. These victims and countless others deserve justice.”

“Victims have suffered in silence for far too long as a result of the extremely restrictive statute of limitations,” said nationally recognized sex abuse attorney Jeff Herman. “Following the recent huge victory for victims in the state of New York, I hope survivors nationwide will be given a voice and the opportunity to seek long overdue justice,” said Jeff.

If you were sexually abused in New York as a child, with the recent passage of the New York Child Victims Act, you now have the right to bring a claim and be compensated, regardless of how old you are or how long ago it happened.  You will have a one-year window to bring your claims starting in August 2019. Contact us at Herman Law today to learn about your options.

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