HARRISBURG – The House of Representatives today approved legislation, authored by Rep. Stephen Bloom (R-Cumberland), which would enable the out-of-court testimony of more young sexual abuse victims to be used in court to ensure their perpetrators are brought to justice.
House Bill 2321
would modernize and expand the “tender years” hearsay rule exception to cases involving human trafficking, incest, endangering the welfare of children (if the conduct involved sexual contact with the child), corruption of minors, sexual abuse of children and sexual exploitation of children.
“Broadening the tender years exception will give more young victims of abuse an evidentiary voice in the courtroom and in bringing their perpetrators to justice while preserving the child’s privacy and protecting them from additional trauma,” Bloom said.
House Bill 2321 is part of a three-bill package now headed to the Senate, which is aimed at helping courts properly utilize vulnerable victims’ testimony against their abusers. Also included are measures to shield rape victims from irrelevant cross examination and apply the tender years exception to individuals with intellectual disabilities or autism.
“It’s vital that we give our most vulnerable victims the legal tools and protections necessary to ensure their perpetrators are held accountable for these heinous crimes,” Bloom said.
Representative Stephen Bloom
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Abbey Haslam