PITTSBURGH - Pittsburgh Diocese Bishop David Zubik is open to making drastic changes to sexual abuse laws in Pennsylvania, but with conditions.
Diocese spokesman Monsignor Ron Lengwin said this afternoon that Zubik is in favor of the proposal to open a two-year window for civil litigation by abuse victims, even if the statute of limitations has expired, if it’s constitutional and applies to everyone, not just the church.
The Pennsylvania Catholic Congress has lobbied hard against the proposal since it was first introduced by state legislators in 2016, claiming it would bankrupt the church.
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When asked by Channel 11 last week if the conference’s stance changed after the release of the grand jury’s extensive report on sex abuse within the church, a spokesperson said: “The time to discuss legislation will come later.”
Zubik and other church leaders also support eliminating the statute of limitations in criminal sex abuse cases.
NEW: Father Ron Lengwin says Bishop Zubik would support opening a 2 year retroactive window for lawsuits to be filed by abuse victims IF it’s Constitutional and applies to everyone, not just the Catholic Church. First time we’ve heard any support from a church leader— Aaron Martin (@WPXIAaronMartin) August 20, 2018
As it stands now, a victim can only press charges until they turn 50 years old.
Legislators are expected to renew discussions on the changes when they return to Harrisburg next month.
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