Governor Wolf has signed into law legislation that extends the time victims of childhood sexual abuse can sue their accusers and seek compensation for the harm they have suffered.
Under the new law, persons 18 years old and younger will now have until age 55 to sue their accusers for compensation and to hold them publicly accountable. For victims ages 18-23, the law extends the statute of limitations so that they have until they turn 30 to sue their abuser. Until this law was enacted, victims had to sue their abusers within 2 years of the abuse.
The legislation also extends the statute of limitations for police to file charges against abusers. Under the new law, there will be no time limit for police to file charges against abusers of children. Previously, the police had until the victim turned 50. Also, police will have 20 years to file charges against abusers of young adults. Before, the police only had twelve years.
Lastly, the new law invalidates secrecy agreements that keep child sexual abuse victims from talking to investigators and it increases the penalties for people who are required by law to report abuse but fail to do so. Now, institutions cannot conceal and hide their crimes with so-called secrecy agreements that essentially pay off a victim to keep quiet. Further, there is now greater incentive to report abuse by those who are required to do so, for the consequences of keeping quiet are severe.
What you should do now:
If you, a loved one or friend have been abused by a clergy member, teacher, foster parent, scout leader or day care provider, you have rights and may be entitled to be compensated for the harm done. Please contact Steven Barrett, Esq., Chair of the Firm’s Injury Practice at 215-661-0400 to discuss this matter in complete confidentiality,