NY--Victims blast NYC prosecutors for inaction on proposed bill

By David Clohessy
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests
April 20, 2016

Only one New York City prosecutor is brave, wise and caring enough to advocate repealing the state’s archaic child sex abuse deadline that endangers kids and helps predators.

This is yet another reason why fixing the predator-friendly civil statute of limitations is crucial – because often, prosecutors are timid about taking on tough child sex cases against powerful institutions. When this happens, victims of horrific childhood sexual violence need and deserve the chance to expose wrongdoers in civil courts.

And often, prosecutors charge only those who commit abuse, not those who conceal it. So the perpetrator is exposed but the enablers - those who conceal the crimes – get off scot-free.

Often, supervisors and colleagues who protect child molesters are exposed only through civil lawsuits. And when they are exposed, others who are tempted to keep quiet about or cover up child sex crimes are deterred.

We applaud Queens District Attorney Richard Brown for his courage and compassion in backing this sorely-needed, long-overdue reform that will better safeguard New York children. We hope other New York prosecutors start moving more aggressively to stop child rapists.

It’s true that, over time, memories fade, witnesses die and evidence gets stale. (That’s true of all kinds of crime, not just child sexual abuse, so should we stop all prosecution of all crimes, because prosecuting criminals is tough?)

It’s also true that over time, scientific and forensic advances make some prosecution easier. And over time, more and more victims of one child molester gain the strength and courage to step forward, so sometimes dozens of devastated young adults are willing to pursue charges against a serial predator but can’t in New York because of an arbitrary, rigid and tight deadline.

And it’s true that some types of criminal cases are harder to win. That doesn’t mean, however, that those crime victims should all be barred from any kind of justice.

Over time, we’ve changed laws and practices to better address more complex crimes like terrorism, drug cartels and financial fraud. We can and must do the same with child sex abuse and cover ups.

Now the burden is on Brooklyn District Attorney Kenneth Thompson, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. and Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark and the District Attorneys Association of the State of New York (headed by Robyn Pangi). One in four girls in their jurisdictions will be molested. So will one in eight boys.

So if these prosecutors aren’t backing the one reform most sought by crime victims, what ARE these prosecutors pushing in Albany to stop his horror?

Imagine if one in four NYC cars owned by women were stolen, or if one in eight NYC apartments rented by men were burglarized. Prosecutors would jump into action.

But one in four girls and one in four boys in New York City are raped, sodomized or fondled. 

No matter what prosecutors, lawmakers or church officials do or don’t do, we urge every single person who saw, suspected or suffered child sex crimes and cover ups in churches or institutions to protect kids by calling police, get help by calling therapists, expose wrongdoers by calling law enforcement, get justice by calling attorneys, and be comforted 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.



Any original material on these pages is copyright © 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.