For far too long, child victims of sex abuse have been largely unable to sue their attackers and those that protect them, because of NYS’s antiquated statutes of limitations. As the New York Times pointed out in an editorial published in January of 2018 (https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/11/opinion/albany-child-victims-act.html) by the time most victims of child sex abuse are able to report the crime, or think about filing suit, they are barred from doing so by NYS law.
The reasons for the delays in reporting are many, but mostly center upon the immaturity of the victim. Immaturity that the predator counts on when choosing their victim. That immaturity works to impede enforcement of legal rights both in criminal and civil court. Several states in the U.S. have eliminated this hurdle by allowing a longer time for such victims to seek arrest or sue, and by allowing the opening of a short window to sue, regardless of how long it’s been since the assault. But so far, New York has failed to move in step with other progressive states in the U.S. That is expected to change.
Until recently, the only impediment preventing such reforms in NYS was Republican control of the NYS senate. The Democratically controlled assembly and Governor Cuomo have demonstrated their overwhelming support for “The Child Victims Act”, Assembly Bill A05885A, which would allow the reforms. The bill passed the assembly in May of 2018 by a vote of 130-10, a vote which no doubt included some Republicans. Sadly, Republicans in control of the senate have refused to even allow a vote on the bill.
Now that the NYS Senate is also controlled by the Democrats, the bill is expected to come to the floor for a vote, and we are urging its full passage. It is time for NYS to join the march of progressive legislators around the country and stand up for victims of child sex abuse.
If you or anyone you know has been the victim of sex abuse, especially a child by a member of the clergy, please contact us at Kelly & Rubin, LLP.