The New York legislation to relax one of the nation’s most restrictive statutes of limitations on child sex abuse continues to stall as it is met with opponents from the Roman Catholic Church and others, reports the Star Tribune.
Although the bill has been around for a decade, victims and advocates of the bill are optimistic this year because they’ve gained a key supporter, Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo. However, the Child Victims Act could rest with Senate leader John Flanagan, who supporters say has refused to meet to discuss the bill.
Under current New York law, victims of child sexual abuse have until age 23 to bring either criminal charges or file a lawsuit against their alleged abusers. Massachusetts, another heavily Catholic state, allows victims up to 35 years to sue. Ohio and Pennsylvania both give victims until age 30.
The bill before lawmakers for consideration would eliminate the statute of limitations on abuse cases going forward and create a one-year window to allow for lawsuits no matter when the abuse occurred.
Supporters say in many instances, it often takes victims of child sex abuse years or even decades to report their abusers or pursue criminal or civil case.
The Roman Catholic Church, the most vocal opponent of the New York bill, proposes an alternative legislation that would eliminate the criminal statute of limitations on child sex crimes and give victims until they are 28 to file civil suits. However, the alternative legislation does not create a window for civil molestation lawsuits now barred by the statute of limitations.
I believe all survivors deserve their day in court in order to seek justice, both criminally and civilly. Blocking legislation that allows for it is sickening. The protection of predators must end.