Opinion: Do right by the victims: Time to protect New York’s children

New York Daily News

December 28, 2017

Next year will bring yet another attempt to overhaul New York’s antiquated statutes of limitations for victims of childhood sexual abuse — and it must be the last.

With exceptions for rape and other forcible violations, prosecutors have just five years after individuals victimized as children turn 18 to bring criminal charges, a constraint that has protected many a pedophile.

Victims have just until they are 21 years old to bring a civil complaint against organizations that may have been havens for predators.

At this #MeToo moment — in light of profound new public understanding why victims delay, sometimes for many years, reporting their abuse by those more powerful than they — this state must stand with victims and right a great wrong.

Gov. Cuomo ought to seize his chance to lead the way, in the spotlight of his State of the State Address next week and by attaching statute of limitations reform to the upcoming state budget.

While the state Assembly finally embraced reform last year, the Senate still stands stubbornly in the way, objecting to a measure that would empower not just future victims but, for a time, past ones to seek justice. Sharing that concern are religious and other organizations concerned about fending off costly lawsuits.

The Albany legislative session soon to start stands to be a game-changer. The past year has seen not only #MeToo but also a successful first round of victim compensation payments from the Archdiocese of New York that ward off future legal liability, meaning the powerful Catholic Church might reconsider.

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