HARRISBURG – Legislation sponsored by Rep. Tarah Toohil (R-Luzerne) that would strengthen criminal investigations into sexual abuse passed unanimously in the House of Representatives today. House Bill 1171
now moves to the Senate for consideration.
Toohil’s proposal would specify that no past or future confidentiality agreements can prohibit an individual from communicating with law enforcement at any time.
“There are victims out there in Pennsylvania who have these non-disclosure agreements and they believe they are still unable to come forward,” said Toohil. “As a result of this legislation, it will be clearly stated in the law that victims are able to provide information to law enforcement regarding their abuse, even if such an agreement is in place.”
Toohil’s legislation is derived from one of the recommendations of last year’s 40th Statewide Investigating Grand Jury, which focused on clergy sex abuse in the Commonwealth. The grand jury found that Roman Catholic dioceses used confidentiality agreements to silence abuse victims from speaking publicly or cooperating with law enforcement.
House Bill 1171 is one of several pieces of legislation approved in the House as part of a month-long effort by the Republican Caucus to provide better protections for crime victims in Pennsylvania.
To view Toohil’s video comments visit here
Representative Tarah Toohil
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Contact: Rep. Toohil’s Office