HARRISBURG – A bill authored by Rep. Jim Gregory (R-Blair) to provide a two-year window for childhood sexual abuse victims to submit claims in civil court has passed the House of Representatives.
House Bill 14
contains the same language as a bill from the 2019-20 Legislative Session, which was a necessary component to develop a constitutional amendment. If it passes the Senate soon, the matter can go to the voters as a referendum question in the May 18 Primary Election.
Gregory’s bill seeks to amend Section 11 of Article 1 of the Pennsylvania Constitution (known as the Remedies Clause) to create the two-year window for civil claims. Doing so would allow victims to file lawsuits if the statute of limitations has already expired for that victim.
Gregory said a recent call from a man named Mike reiterated the importance of giving victims a voice in court because people like Mike are dealing with the effects of abuse decades later.
“This bill is for all the men and women in Pennsylvania who came through to the other side of a very dark experience. We need access to the courts to find closure,” Gregory said.
Last year, a new law sponsored by Rep. Mark Rozzi (D-Berks) in partnership with Gregory raised the age by which childhood victims could file suit. Act 87 of 2020
set the age at 55, rather than the previous 30.
Gregory praised legislative allies like Rozzi and Sen. Lisa Baker (R-Luzerne/Pike/Susquehanna/Wayne/Wyoming) in helping to develop what has been termed the Hidden Predator Act.
“I’m so appreciative of the support lent to this initiative, which was one of my main priorities when I was first elected in 2018. Today’s passage on a 187-15 vote was an incredibly important step,” he said.
Representative Jim Gregory
Pennsylvania House of Representatives