GOP lawmaker says he’s willing to change the law to make victims of sex abuse more vulnerable to suing.
The Texas Republican, whose district includes the Houston suburbs of Houston and Montgomery, announced Tuesday he will introduce a bill that would make it easier for victims to sue for sexual abuse in the wake of revelations of the Jerry Sandusky child abuse scandal.
The House Rules Committee is expected to consider the bill next week.
The measure would give victims of the abuse the right to sue even if their complaint is not filed by the victim’s attorney.
Republican state Rep. Mike Williams told The Washington Post in a statement that the new legislation “would not only allow victims of this heinous crime to pursue justice, but it would also help bring the perpetrators of these horrific crimes to justice.”
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The bill has not yet been referred to the full House.
It has been referred, however, to the House Rules committee.
“I think we can see that this bill is moving in the right direction,” said John C. Dallen, an attorney who has been a leader in the sexual abuse reform movement.
“We are very confident that we can get this bill to the floor for a vote in the next two weeks.”
Dallen is one of several attorneys who have been active in the case.
He also represents the former president of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, which helped expose Sandusky’s crimes.
The Houston Chronicle reported last week that Williams has been involved in a number of lawsuits alleging abuse by Sandusky.
The new bill would allow victims to file a civil lawsuit, but would only allow for the victim to bring a civil action if they have not already done so in court.
A lawsuit would be dismissed if the victim dies or if the alleged victim withdraws from the case or the case is dismissed.
The measure also would not allow victims who have already filed a lawsuit to sue again, unless the alleged perpetrator has already filed an amended complaint or a new complaint has been filed.
It would allow for victims who sue a person, entity, or corporation for money damages and for damages for past and future injuries to receive an award for the injuries.
But victims would not have the right of appeal or an appeal hearing if the complaint was dismissed, according to the legislation.