FOX43 Capitol Beat: State Rep. Mark Rozzi

YORK TOWNSHIP, Pa. -- After failing in consecutive sessions to pass statute of limitations reform for sexual abuse survivors, State Representative Mark Rozzi admits it's time to try a different negotiating method.

Rozzi, a Berks County Democrat who has openly spoke of his own sexual abuse in the Catholic Church when he was a child, has made statute of limitations reform his most important legislative issue since taking office in 2013. Speaking with FOX43 Morning News anchor Matt Maisel on this week's FOX43 Capitol Beat, Rozzi said when he reintroduces his statute of limitations reform bill, it will include language which he hopes makes it more difficult for State Senate leadership to oppose.

"We're trying to learn from what (Senators) Corman and Scarnati have said," Rozzi explained, which is if the House passes a similar bill, Senate Republican leaders will not put the legislation up for a vote.

"We've been working with leaders in the House, such as Majority Leader (Bryan) Cutler, to figure out what we can pass. I'm not trying to reinvent the wheel."

Rozzi's bill opens the statute of limitations for an abuse victim to sue their abuser until one is 50 years old. It also opens a two-year window for anyone who is outside the current statute of 30 years old to file a civil suit against their abuser.

In October, the Pennsylvania House of Representatives passed a reform bill 173-21. However, Senator Scarnati chose not to put it up for a vote in the Senate, arguing the window is unconstitutional.

Scarnati, in response to Rozzi's appearance on FOX43, issued a statement, which read:

“In January of 2017 I introduced Senate Bill 261 to strengthen laws as they relate to child sexual abuse.  After waiting 20 months before they took action on Senate Bill 261, the House amended SB 261 last September, creating a seriously flawed bill that was unacceptable.  In addition to leaving out two of the Grand Jury report recommendations, it established that some victims of abuse would be treated better than others. In fact, it gave some victims half justice and other victims more justice. As many advocates point out, six percent of victims come from the Catholic Church, which makes it even more important that all victims are treated the same.

“In an effort to reach a compromise and provide justice for victims, I drafted another proposal at the end of the last legislative session.  Unfortunately instead of working together to negotiate in good faith and send a good bill to the Governor’s desk, those on the other side of this issue chose to not reach out and engage in discussions. To this day I am still waiting to hear back and be told who is negotiating this issue from the other side.

“Since the end of the last legislative session, all the dioceses in Pennsylvania have now started Victims Compensation Funds.  This issue will be judged upon the results of the fair distribution of those funds and the support that they offer victims.”

 

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