NEW YORK (NY)
New York Daily News
May 14, 2021
By Daily News Editorial Board
New Yorkers who were sexually molested as children, then harmed again by restrictive laws that gave them precious little time to seek justice, are running out of time to file suit against their tormentors and the institutions that enabled the abuse. As champions of the landmark Child Victims Act, which lengthened statutes of limitations and created a one-year lookback window for filing civil suits that’s since been extended to cope with COVID’s closure of courts, we urge those victimized to seek justice before the deadline arrives three months from today.
The sexual abuse of a young person is unlike any other crime. When monster molesters take advantage of children, typically ones placed in their care, it sends the victim into years of shame, self-blame, post-traumatic stress and even suicidal thinking. It’s psychologically exhausting just to come to terms with the reality of what a teacher or cleric or camp counselor or family member might have done, never mind finding the fortitude to name and confront that individual, and relive the trauma they caused, in a court of law.
It was with that profound recognition of human nature that state Sen. Brad Hoylman and Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal insisted upon not only giving people more time to seek justice going forward, but, for a clearly defined period, to go back, unearth evidence and pursue accountability for past crimes.
As has been clear from the travails of the Catholic Church, the Boy Scouts, private schools and other institutions that knowingly sheltered child abusers or looked the other way despite repeated allegations of wrongdoing, this is not only about people scarring other people; it is about institutions that made the morally repugnant choice, over many years, to put themselves and their supposed reputations before the youngsters they were duty-bound to protect.
As Aug. 14 approaches, as New York’s lookback window closes, so, we pray, does an era in history when society ignores the anguish of countless boys and girls grown into men and women. Justice delayed need not be justice denied.