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06/20/2024 05:59 AM
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House of Representatives
Session of 2023 - 2024 Regular Session


Posted: June 8, 2023 03:09 PM
From: Representative Robert W. Mercuri
To: All House members
Subject: Statute of Limitations for Crimes Committed Against a Care-Dependent Person - Nicholas’ Law (Former HB 2483)
In the near future, I intend to introduce legislation that amends Title 42 to remove the statute of limitations for certain crimes that are committed against a nonverbal care-dependent person.
I decided to introduce this legislation after learning of abuse that occurred at a respected residential facility resulting in his death of Nicholas Maravich.  Nicholas, who was nonverbal and care-dependent, had been abused by a staff member, but was unable to communicate that anything was wrong.  The abuse of Nicholas was later discovered when photographs and videos were found on the perpetrator’s cell phone while police were investigating an unrelated rape case involving the residential facility employee. During the criminal trial, the families of the non-verbal victims were shocked to learn that the former caretaker was being charged with lesser crimes because the statute of limitations had run out.

This legislation will eliminate the statute of limitations for some of the most serious crimes when they are committed against a nonverbal care-dependent person. Specifically, these crimes include rape, involuntary deviate sexual assault, simple assault, aggravated assault and abuse or neglect of a care-dependent person.  

Under this legislation, a nonverbal care dependent person is defined as an individual who is 18 years or age or older and who due to a physical or cognitive disability or impairment requires assistance to meet their needs for food, shelter, clothing, personal care, or health care, and has significantly subaverage general intellectual function that is accompanied by significant limitations in the adaptive function of communication.

It is imperative that we adequately protect nonverbal care-dependent persons who are victims of crime. Because of limitations they may have in their ability to express that they have been victimized, I believe removing the statute of limitations for certain serious crimes is both appropriate and necessary.  The Commonwealth must continue to ensure that these vulnerable individuals receive justice under the law and that those they prey on them are adequately held accountable.

Please join me in cosponsoring this legislation to better protect and serve our Commonwealth residents.

Introduced as HB1614