Attorney General Josh Shapiro is releasing the statement below following the Pennsylvania Senate’s passage of the four reforms recommended by the Grand Jury Report on clergy abuse released by his office in August 2018.
“Today, the voices of survivors were heard. I stand proudly alongside these brave souls, who have waited 15 long months since the release of the Grand Jury’s Report on clergy abuse to see the jurors’ four recommended reforms be brought to the Pennsylvania Senate floor for a vote.
These reforms are more than just statutory changes. They fundamentally change our justice system to better protect victims and hold abusers, and those who cover up abuse, accountable under the law.
With the elimination of the criminal statute of limitations on child abuse, Bob Corby of Bethlehem, now 84 years old, could have had his day in court to finally see the priest who abused him when he was a teenage boy brought to justice.
With the clarification of who must report abuse and when, survivors like Mary McHale and Diana Vojtasek of Reading may not have been ignored and had their abuser shuffled between parishes because of the ambiguity of who served as a mandated reporter.
With the prohibition of confidentiality agreements that silence survivors, the Fortney sisters of Harrisburg wouldn’t have feared to talk to police or our office or even one another about the unspeakable and horrific abuse that plagued their youth.
And while I hoped another day wouldn’t pass prohibiting survivors of heinous abuse the opportunity to hold their abusers accountable civilly – I am confident now more than ever that the survivors, parishioners, and Pennsylvanians who share with me every day how this Grand Jury Report has touched them – will have their voices, loudly and proudly, heard at the ballot box.”
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