Child Sex Abuse Bill Approved in Assembly

March 31, 2009,0,5391302.story

ALBANY - A bill extending the statute of limitations on lawsuits over future allegations of child sex abuse was approved Tuesday by an Assembly committee.

In an 18-1 vote, the Codes Committee sent the legislation sponsored by Assemb. Vito Lopez (D-Brooklyn) to the Assembly floor for a vote, which could occur in a few weeks.

The Lopez bill rivals another from Assemb. Margaret M. Markey (D-Maspeth) that also extends the statute of limitations but more controversially establishes a special one-year window for abuse victims to file suit in civil court regardless how long ago the assault occurred.

Many abuse claims against Catholic priests were dismissed because they were made after the current time limit, which is five years after the accuser turns 18.

The Markey bill passed the committee nearly two weeks ago in an 11-8 vote while the Lopez bill failed.

Lopez then amended it to make employers and other third parties liable and waive the 90-day notice of claim requirement for suits against government workers.

"My bill treats public and private schools the same," he said.

Markey contends that her legislation does so as well. It passed the Assembly three times previously, only to die in the then Republican-controlled State Senate.

Still, the Catholic Church and others back Lopez's bill over Markey's. Gov. David A. Paterson also supports Lopez's.


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