Advocates Urge Sen. Corman To Support Bill Allowing Child Sex Abuse Victims To Sue

Sep 28, 2018

The state House passed a bill last week to help protect victims of child sex abuse, which victims and advocates are urging the state Senate to support.

Shaun Dougherty, a survivor of child sex abuse, said the current laws in Pennsylvania did not protect him after he was abused.

On Friday, Dougherty delivered a request to Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman at his office in Bellefonte, along with the Senator’s Democratic opponent in the midterm election, Ezra Nanes.

They urged Corman to pass Senate Bill 261, which would open a two-year window for child sex abuse victims to file civil lawsuits retroactively.

“If I get my opportunity in the court of law, I can expose the person that abused me and those that enabled him and helped cover it up,” Dougherty said.

Corman has said changes need to be made before the bill can pass the Senate. One issue is that the bill would require a higher burden of proof for public institutions such as schools. 

“In his viewpoint, abuse is abuse, no matter who the perpetrator is. So, creating this duo class of victim was very concerning,” Jennifer Kocher with Corman's office explained.

Kocher said Corman has committed to bring the bill up for a vote before this legislative session ends.