– A bill to remove the statute of limitations for crimes committed against a care-dependent person has been introduced by Rep. Lori Mizgorski (R-Allegheny).
“I decided to author this legislation after speaking with one of my constituents and learning of the abuse her family member suffered prior to his death at a respected residential facility,” said Mizgorski. “The constituent’s brother, who was nonverbal and care-dependent, had been abused by a staff member, but was unable to communicate that anything was wrong. The abuse was later discovered when photographs and videos were found on the perpetrator’s cell phone while police were investigating an unrelated rape case. During the criminal trial, the families of the nonverbal victims were shocked to learn that the accused was being charged with lesser crimes because the statute of limitations had run out.”
House Bill 2483
would eliminate the statute of limitations for some of the most serious crimes when they are committed against a nonverbal care-dependent person. Specifically, these crimes include rape, involuntary deviate sexual assault, simple assault, aggravated assault, and abuse or neglect of a care-dependent person. Under this legislation, a nonverbal care dependent person is defined as an individual who is 18 years of age or older; who, due to a physical or cognitive disability or impairment, requires assistance to meet their needs for food, shelter, clothing, personal care or health care; and has significantly sub-average general intellectual function that is accompanied by significant limitations in the adaptive function of communication.
“It is imperative that we adequately protect nonverbal care-dependent persons who are victims of crime,” Mizgorski continued. “Because of limitations they may have in their ability to express that they have been victimized, I believe removing the statute of limitations for certain serious crimes is both appropriate and necessary. The Commonwealth must work to ensure that these vulnerable individuals receive justice under the law and those who prey on them are adequately held accountable.”
The bill awaits consideration by the House Judiciary Committee.
Representative Lori Mizgorski
30th Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Michelle Swab