Pa. State Dept. failure pushes victims’ day in court years ahead

Written by on February 3, 2021

 Pa. State Dept. failure pushes victims’ day in court years ahead

By Chloe Nouvelle

February 3, 2021

Kathy Boockvar has led the Department of State since 2019, and oversaw a tense and difficult presidential election in a battleground state last year. Photo |Tim Tai / Spotlight PA

Pennsylvania  Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar has resigned. She’s out of the job because her department made a mistake that will delay some child sexual abuse survivors from bringing their alleged abusers to court.

Listen to the story.

Boockvar’s department was supposed to advertise a proposed constitutional amendment, one that would open up a two-year window for child sexual abuse survivors to file civil legal action against their alleged abusers, before the 2020 election. 

But that never happened. 

So now, it will take years for survivors to see the inside of a courtroom.

Jennifer Storm is the former head of Pennsylvania’s Office of the Victim Advocate

“There needs to be an investigation into how the department of state just completely was derelict in their duty. And this is a really simple check a box kind of duty, they do this all the time,” Storm says.

The Wolf Administration says the amendment was a response to sexual abuse by Catholic clergy

Storm says opening up the time limit for survivors is about exposing perpetrators, some of whom, she says, still work with children.

“Ultimately,” Storm says, “It’s about saving other children from being raped and harmed.”
Gov. Tom Wolf has asked the Office of State Inspector General to look into this failure. 

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