Harrisburg, October 3, 2018 – Sen. John Sabatina (D-Philadelphia) is pleased that his legislation Senate Bill 1023, also known as Karen’s Law, was passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
The legislation passed with a 14-0-1 vote.
“Karen’s Law has been a legislative effort close to my heart,” said the senator. “When I worked with the Philadelphia District Attorney’s office, I saw how the justice system did always protect victims of crime after the conviction of the perpetrator.”
“SB 1023 provides much needed protections for victims of sexually violent crimes and works to combat the re-victimization of survivors.”
Named after Karen Widdoss-Milewski, a constituent and survivor of violent crime, Sabatina introduced Karen’s Law to limit the parole re-application process for sexually violent predators.
SB 1023 would extend the time between parole re-applications for convicted sexually violent predators. Current law allows one year to pass before a convicted sexually violent predator can re-apply for parole.
Under Karen’s Law, the Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole would not be required to review parole applications of those convicted of sexually violent crimes until three years after their most recent parole application.
Sabatina states that ensuring an additional two years between parole re-application would help alleviate some of the trauma faced by survivors when they are called to testify against their attackers.
“The current parole re-application process does not adequately address the trauma experienced by survivors,” Sabatina said. “Senate Bill 1023 addresses the emotional needs of victims.”
The vote in the Senate Judiciary Committee shows that Karen’s Law continues to boast broad bipartisan support.
The legislation is also supported by the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape, the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence, the Radar Project, the Women’s Center of Montgomery County, Woman Organized Against Rape (WOAR) and countless survivors of violent crime.