March 28, 2018
By Chris McKenna
Lex Filipowski was a 7-year-old altar boy at Holy Cross Church in Wawayanda, alone with the pastor as they changed into their robes before Mass, when the Rev. George Boxelaar pulled him close and began kissing him on the lips.
Thus began an abuse routine that escalated to groping and lasted for four years in the early 1970s, ending when Filipowski’s family changed churches. Filipowski first went public with Boxelaar’s molestation of him in a Times Herald-Record story in 2002, prompting at least 25 other people to come forward with reports of being sexually abused by the same priest when they were young boys. By that time, Boxelaar had been removed from the priesthood and had returned to his native Holland, where he died at age 81 in 1990.
Today, Filipowski has added his voice to an intense campaign on behalf of the Child Victims Act, a state bill that abuse survivors and their advocates have sought for more than a dozen years and that was part of budget negotiations in Albany this week. The bill would extend the statutes of limitation for criminal and civil cases against abusers — New York doesn’t let cases be brought after the victim turns 23 — and open a one-year window for any past victims to sue their abusers and culpable institutions.
The targets of the campaign are the Senate’s ruling Republicans, who have blocked the legislation because they oppose the one-year window.
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