‘I am owed justice,’ Rally at Capitol to drop the statute of limitations for child sex crimes

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HARRISBURG, Pa.-- An emotional scene at the Capitol Monday as legislators and victims rallied to change Pennsylvania law in regards to child sex crimes. Attorney General Kathleen Kane and Auditor General Eugene DePasquale urged the state general assembly to pass house bills 655 and 951.

"This is where we protect our children," Kane said. "This is how we make sure, that when they are the victims of sexual abuse as children, that we do not allow the perpetrators to get away. We do not all them to slip through the cracks."

655 would eliminate the statute of limitations for criminal and civil cases of child sex abuse.

"Put away the political bulls*** and make this happen," child sex abuse victim Brenda Dick said.

She said she was abused for years by a family member. When she went to police with case, the statute of limitations had expired for her abuser.

"I am owed justice. I am owed identification, and he is owed capture," she said.

House Bill 951 would allow for a two year window for victims to file civil suits against their abusers. It would not matter when the crime happened.

This would help victims who have waited years to talk about their abuse.

"I sat on that secret for 20 years," victim Jim Money said. He would later go on to serve in law enforcement and work to put child predators behind bars.

Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape CEO, Delilah Rumburg said it can take people years to come forward to talk about the abuse. Yeshiva University law professor Marci Hamilton said the average age for people to come forward is in their 40s.

Dick and Money were just a couple of the victims who were in attendance for the rally at the Capitol. Representative Mark Rozzi from Berk County is a victim himself. He is looking for the bills to pass and make sure the child sex predators are put away and not allowed for this to continue to happen.

"How could you vote against victims to support pedophiles and perpetrators," he said. "I've been getting a lot of great response from our legislators, and you know what it's time."

He says he is facing challenges from House Judiciary Chairman Ron Marsico.

Parts of the statement he released, he said:

"We, in the legislature, will always fight to protect children, and I certainly support doing more to continue to support the victims of these horrendous crimes. While there are only a very few states with a  longer window for their civil stature of limitations, I support fully abolishing the criminal statute of limitation for future criminal prosecutions. The Judiciary Committee plans to work expeditiously to move legislation to strengthen our laws already in place and send it to the House floor for a full vote. By making sure everyone who sexually abuses a child can be prosecuted, justice will always be served."

There is also the talk of whether this would be constitutional in Pennsylvania. Hamilton says it is constitutional in Pennsylvania. She has seen this done in other states as well. For the claims that courts would be flooded with victims, she said in California, which only gave a year for a window for victims to sue abusers, there was only 1150 cases filed.


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