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Concern Over Two Tiered System Based On The Abuser


HARRISBURG – The PA House approved legislation this week to give victims of child sexual abuse an opportunity to file lawsuits over claims that would otherwise be too outdated to pursue. The bill creating a two-year window for litigation came as a result of a state grand jury report last month that found hundreds of Roman Catholic priests abused children going back to the 1940s. Lancaster County Rep. Bryan Cutler had a concern about the measure that caused him to vote against it. He says the current measure treats victims differently based on who abused them. If you were abused by a non-governmental entity like a church, you could pursue unlimited monetary damages and the threshold that you would need to prove in a court would be one of simple negligence to prevail. If you were abused by a governmental entity, under the bill, your monetary damages would be capped, one could not pursue punitive damages, and the threshold that you would need to prove in a court would be one of gross negligence to prevail. Cutler agreed that something needs to be done, but does not agree on a two-tiered system based on if the abuser is a governmental or non-governmental entity. He hopes the state Senate will fix that portion of the bill.


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