Attorney General Backs Markey’s Sex Abuse Bill
By Anthony Giudice
April 14, 2016
The fight to allow childhood sexual abuse victims the right to bring their abusers to justice has just gained another supporter.
Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has joined forces with Maspeth-based Assemblywoman Margaret Markey to make the Child Victims Act the law of the land in New York State, which seeks to eliminate the archaic statute of limitations in the state which restricts the time for childhood sexual abuse victims to come forward and expose their abusers and the organizations that hid or protected them.
“As the state’s top law enforcement officer, it is my job to ensure equal justice for all New Yorkers — especially the most vulnerable among us,” Schneiderman wrote in a letter to Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie. “No one is more vulnerable than children who have been the victims of sexual abuse. Yet, New York remains one of just four states … that denies victims their day in court, and allows those who prey on children to walk away unpunished.”
Currently, New York is among the worst states in the country — along with Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi — on how they deal with child victims of sexual abuse, giving the victim of child sexual abuse until their 23rd birthday to come forward and press charges, or they lose the chance to bring their abuser to justice forever.
Schneiderman has called the state’s current laws “unconscionable,” and that they “must be addressed during this year’s legislative session.”
In the letter, Schneiderman cited statistics from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention stating that one in four girls, and one in six boys are sexually abused before the age of 18.
“But for many victims, the full memory of childhood abuse is often suppressed for decades — or victims are too overcome by fear and shame to report their abusers until they find the strength and support they need in adulthood,” he continued. “We must not allow our justice system to further victimize our fellow New Yorkers.”
Markey and Schneiderman urge the public to take up the fight as well and write letters to both Flanagan and Heastie asking them to take action and vote on the two Child Victims Act bills, to eliminate the civil and criminal statutes of limitations.
The lawmakers can be reached at the following addresses: Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, Room 932, Legislative Office Building, Albany, NY 12248; and State Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan, Room 330, State Capitol, Albany, NY 12247.