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Pope Francis Addresses Joint Meeting Of U.S. Congress

Source: Mark Wilson / Getty

At the end of its devastating report finding that Roman Catholic bishops across Pennsylvania covered up decades of child sex abuse at the hands of priests, involving more than 1,000 victims, the state grand jury drew lawmakers a road map toward justice.

Among its recommendations was the idea of giving older adults the right to file lawsuits for abuse they suffered as children.

Political disagreements and backroom lobbying have repeatedly stalled bills that would have retroactively loosened the statute of limitations for claims against the church, even as prosecutors have produced one report after another.

With the latest report, every Roman Catholic diocese in the state has been implicated, thus highlighting abuse in nearly every legislator’s district. Yet the entire House and half the Senate is up for reelection, there are few legislative voting days left in the year, and powerful opposition to change remains.

“I don’t know how anybody could read the report and not want to take action,” said House Majority Leader Dave Reed.

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