More than 60 Assembly members want a chance to vote on Child Victims Act
More than 60 Assembly members are asking their leader for a chance to vote on the Child Victims Act as the session winds to a close.
Backed by 62 Assembly members, the Child Victims Act aims to eliminate criminal and civil statutes of limitation for those who have been sexually abused. A one-year “window” would also allow older victims who wish to revive their cases in civil courts where a previous statute of limitation has expired.
“There is no limit on what is a life-time of suffering and anguish for so many victims of child sexual abuse,” said Assemblywoman Margaret Markey, the bill’s sponsor and long-time champion. “That is why there should be no limit on the ability of victims and society to prosecute abusers and no limit on holding accountable those institutions and organizations that have deliberately protected and hidden pedophiles.”
According to a recent FBI study, one in five children are abused before the age of 18. Of these crimes, only 10 percent of the abuses are reported. Many times the child knows and trusts the predator. Current New York law states that a victim of childhood sexual abuse has within five years after their eighteenth birthday to report the crime. If adopted as law, the Child Victims Act would allow victims to report the abuse and seek legal action whenever they are ready.
In a letter to the Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, the Assembly members supporting the bill wrote, “Many other states over recent years have reformed their statute of limitations for child sexual abuse, but not New York. Right now, New York is among the four states where predators and abusers get better treatment than victims. It is time to change that by adopting the Child Victims Act and we respectfully ask your help to bring A.2872 to the Assembly floor for a vote.”
California and Delaware have both passed similar child victims bills which have brought many predators to justice. Over a one-year span, California prosecuted more than 300 predators and Delaware more than 60, stopping potential child abuse from the same perpetrators. Within the one-year retroactive span, the Child Victims Act hopes to prevent future sexual abuse by prosecuting those who committed a crime in the past and have not been brought to justice.
“Rape or molestation of a child is among the very worst offenses in our society, but New York State’s outdated statutes of limitations now permits pedophiles and those who hide them to evade accountability for their crimes,” Markey said.
In the closing days of session, Markey and her 61 Assembly supporters are looking to push the Child Victims Act to the floor for a vote with the largest support to date.