Harrisburg – October 18, 2018 – The state Senate Republican majority should have approved legislation that would aid victims of sex abuse by priests and dioceses officials, state Sen. Jim Brewster (D-Allegheny/Westmoreland) said today.

Instead, the Senate Republican majority failed to bring to the floor a bill (Senate Bill 261) that included several reforms, including a 2-year window for victims to file civil suits against priests or the church.

“The state Senate’s failure to act on critical legislation is disconcerting, disappointing and a disserve to those who continue to suffer from the pain of sex abuse by church officials,” Brewster said. “The recommendations made by the statewide grand jury are explicit, clear and would address issues important to victims.”

Earlier this year, a statewide grand jury issued a report detailing activities in Roman Catholic dioceses across Pennsylvania. The grand jury found hundreds of cases of sex abuse by priests and cover ups by diocesan officials over the span of several decades.

As part the report, the Grand Jury made several recommendations to stem future abuse. They recommended opening a window to permit victims to file civil actions; eliminating age limits to allow victims to file criminal complaints; halting nondisclosure agreements; and tightening child abuse reporting requirements.

“It was clear that the Senate should have moved a bill that would have helped victims deal with the pain and anguish they have experienced as a result of the abuse,” Brewster said. “The failure of the Senate majority to act and adopt a reasonable and responsible plan is incomprehensible.”

“The needs of the victims of abuse should be the top priority.”

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