The Pennsylvania Grand Jury report, released during August 2018, identified more than 1,000 alleged victims of 300 credibly accused priests from 1947 to 2017 across six Pennsylvania dioceses.
The grand jury report recommended creating a retroactive two-year legal window allowing victims of child sex abuse to sue even if the statute of limitations has expired. The legal effort to create such a window in Pennsylvania has been ongoing since then.
Constitutional amendments in Pennsylvania must pass both chambers in two successive two-year legislative sessions before going before voters in a statewide referendum for final approval, the AP reported.
Democratic state Rep. Mark Rozzi, who says he was abused by a priest at age 13, is one of the proposed amendment’s main backers. He told the AP he is working on a plan to create the two-year window through regular legislation rather than via amendment.
In New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) last year extended the one-year window for Child Victims Act lawsuits until August 14, 2021. Over 400 lawsuits were filed in New York state on the first day of the one-year window.
New Jersey opened a two-year window for victims Dec. 1, 2019. After that window closes, a new law extended the statute of limitations on reporting childhood abuse from 20 years of age to 55.
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California’s three-year “look back” window opened Jan. 1, 2020. Once the window has closed, victims will be able to come forward with childhood abuse cases up until the age of 40, instead of the previous limit of 26 years of age.
Arizona, Montana, Hawaii, Vermont, and North Carolina, and the District of Columbia have also opened windows. Most states have temporary look back windows, though Vermont’s window will never expire, allowing anyone to come forward with an allegation of childhood sexual abuse at any time.