Harrisburg – June 25, 2018 – Sen. John Sabatina (D-Philadelphia) led advocates and survivors of violent crime to rally for the passage of Senate Bill 1023, known as Karen’s Law.
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.
“In my time with the Philadelphia District Attorney’s office, I witnessed how the justice system does not always protect victims of crime after a perpetrator is convicted,” Sabatina said. “Karen’s Law will provide protections to victims of sexually violent crime and combat the re-victimization of survivors.”
Karen, the inspirational survivor behind Karen’s Law, attended the rally.
“We often think it ends with a conviction and sentencing. However, people are missing the rest of the story. Survivors across Pennsylvania are being re-victimized year-after-year under the current setup,” Karen said.
SB 1023 would limit the frequency of parole applications for sexually violent predators. 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. Under currently law, there is only a one year wait between the ability to re-apply for parole for those convicted of sexually violent crimes.
Karen’s Law would extend the time between re-application. 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 process does not effectively address the trauma experienced by survivors of sexual violence when they are brought to face their attackers,” Sabatina said.
“Senate Bill 1023 addresses the emotional needs of victims and lessens re-victimization.”
Additional supporters of Karen’s Law who spoke at the rally were Jennifer Storm from the Pennsylvania Office of Victim Advocate and Gary Gregory from the Every Great Reason Foundation.
Karen’s Law boasts broad bipartisan support in the Senate and 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