Prior to breaking for budget hearings, the state House of Representatives again moved forward with another piece of ‘reviver’ legislation which would open a two-year window to allow victims of childhood sexual assault to file claims that are barred by the statute of limitations. House Bill 2, which passed by a vote of 134 to 67, would statutorily create a two year window for victims of childhood sexual abuse to take legal action against their perpetrators.
As we have previously noted, the statutory approach to opening these windows retroactively is unconstitutional. This legislation only offers false hope of a quick recovery for victims as it will very likely be struck down by the courts. The only legally permissible way to do this and not run afoul of the remedies clause of the PA Constitution, is to amend the constitution itself. Victims of childhood sexual abuse have lived with the painful memories of the horrible things that happened to them as children. Now they are being victimized again by the legislative process in the form of this unconstitutional bill.
Both the House and the Senate have passed their versions of constitutional amendments that would open the window for two years to file claims.
However, a recent report by the Susquehanna Valley Center for Public Policy found that a constitutional amendment providing a two year window would likely have a significant economic impact with a large number claims expected to be filed against Pennsylvania school districts. The report found that the cost of the claims would range between $5 billion and $32.5 billion statewide.