NY--Attny General pushes abuse reform; Victims respond
By David Clohessy
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests
April 6, 2016
We’re grateful that New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is joining the chorus pushing to reform New York’s archaic, predator-friendly abuse laws. He’s right when he says “By denying child sexual abuse victims their day in court, we are denying them their right to equal justice under the law.”
But worse, New York’s incredibly strict statute of limitations is also helping child molesters stay hidden and putting kids at risk. It’s almost always through the criminal and civil courts that predators are exposed and children are protected.
To safeguard kids and prevent cover ups, we strongly believe that Assemblywoman Margaret Markey’s “window” bill is the best option in New York. Claims that public and private entities must be treated identically are a red herring.
We hope Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan (R-Suffolk County) and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie (D-Bronx) are listening and will quickly allow a floor vote on this sorely-needed public safety legislation.
The civil statute of limitations for child sex crimes needs to be lifted for new and old cases. Those who enable and cover up these sex crimes need to be held accountable too. Otherwise, cover ups will continue and children will never be safe from being dealt this life sentence of trauma and pain.
Most victims of child sex abuse are unable to even speak of it until they are much older. Filing a suit gives victims the opportunity to warn others about and protect kids from their perpetrators.
It also enables them to deter future cover ups by having their day in court and expose those who concealed – not just those who committed – horrific child sex crimes.
Through civil “discovery,” victims can force high ranking officials to testify under oath, revealing their complicity.
Victims want the full truth to be exposed so that no other child is sexually abused. They should have that chance.
No matter what happens in Albany, we urge every single person who saw, suspected or suffered child sex crimes and cover ups in Catholic churches or institutions in New York to protect kids by calling police, get help by calling therapists, expose wrongdoers by calling journalists, get justice by calling attorneys, and get comfort by calling support groups like ours. This is how kids will be safer, adults will recover, criminals will be prosecuted, cover ups will be deterred and the truth will surface.