Marsico Prepares to Introduce Legislation to Strengthen Statute of Limitations Laws
HARRISBURG – House Judiciary Committee Majority Chairman Ron Marsico (R-Dauphin) issued the following statement today in regard to the imminent introduction of his legislation that would strengthen laws dealing with Pennsylvania’s statutes of limitations:
“The legislation I plan to introduce would abolish the statute of limitations for the criminal prosecution of those who commit sexual abuse of a child, and extend the statute of limitations for civil lawsuits against those perpetrators. Childhood sexual abuse is one of the most vulgar, vile and evil crimes that can be committed. It is my hope that this legislation will take steps to prevent childhood sexual abuse and hold accountable those people who perpetrate such evil.
“Under current law, the statute of limitations for criminal prosecutions alleging sexual offenses against a child is until the victim reaches age 50. Also under current law, the statute of limitations for civil claims alleging sexual abuse against a child is until the victim reaches age 30.
“My legislation would reform these statutes of limitations in two ways. First, the bill eliminates the criminal statute of limitations for serious sexual offenses where the victim is a child. These offenses include rape, sexual assault, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, institutional sexual assault, incest, and forms of human trafficking involving sexual servitude. Second, the bill extends the statute of limitations for civil lawsuits until the victim reaches age 50.
“In addition, the legislation would amend the scope of sovereign immunity and governmental immunity by providing that immunity will be waived for conduct which constitutes a serious criminal offense of childhood sexual abuse, if the state or local agency acted with negligence. So, for the first time, governmental entities in Pennsylvania could be sued for negligence regarding childhood sexual abuse where, right now, they are immune from such lawsuits.
“My legislation would be prospective in nature, so that it only extends the statutes of limitations and waives sovereign immunity for those who commit childhood sexual abuse after the bill is enacted. If this legislation becomes law, Pennsylvania would have one of the most victim-friendly statutes of limitations in the entire nation for childhood sexual abuse cases,” said Marsico.
Representative Ronald Marsico
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Autumn R. Southard, 717.652.3721