"It opens up a two-year window, so any survivor who previously was time-barred from bringing a civil action can bring one," Vitale said. "It gives them a sense of accountability and proof that this actually did happen to them."
The senator has been working for 20 years to convince fellow lawmakers to support the measure. It faced fierce opposition from the Catholic Church, but Vitale said the Pennsylvania grand jury report on priest sexual abuse helped turn the tide in Trenton.
Among the measure's supporters, the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP) calls the new law "one of the best in the nation, granting all sexual abuse survivors the opportunity to access the justice system."