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Victims get more time to sue

HARRISBURG — The state where a grand jury’s groundbreaking report set off a new wave of reckoning over sexual abuse in the Roman Catholic Church passed legislation Thursday giving victims more time to sue and police more time to file charges.

The Pennsylvania House sent the statute-of-limitations bill to Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf along with a measure that invalidates secrecy agreements in lawsuit settlements that prevent child sexual abuse victims from talking to investigators.

“This has been a long and trying process,,” said Berks County Democratic Rep. Mark Rozzi.

Wolf’s office said he intends to sign the bills and a third measure that increases and clarifies penalties for mandated reporters who do not report suspected child abuse.

A fourth piece of legislation has also passed both chambers, a proposed state constitutional amendment to give now-adult victims of child sexual abuse a two-year window to sue abusers and institutions. The amendment must pass the House and Senate again in the 2021-22 session before going to voters.