A New Push to Expand New York’s Childhood Sex Assault Law

Child USA says that the law belongs in the governor’s budget because current laws cost the state money. Some survivors of childhood sexual assault, who may suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder or other difficulties like addiction, often end up depending on state programs like Medicaid. Child USA argues that the Child Victims Act would shift that financial burden to the abusers and responsible institutions.

Last year, the bill passed in the Assembly by a vote of 139-7, and Mr. Cuomo offered his endorsement by introducing it as well. But the Senate speaker, John J. Flanagan, a Republican, has declined to bring it up for a vote in that chamber. A key piece of the proponents’ strategy will be to aggressively target specific state senators, especially in competitive suburban districts, with efforts like digital advertising to get their support. Carl L. Marcellino and Elaine Phillips, Republicans from Long Island who won narrow victories in recent elections, are two senators on their list, according to coalition representatives.

I think we realize now that they really need to be called out,” said Stephen Jimenez, an abuse survivor who has been advocating for the bill for more than 10 years. “The question for us now is really blunt: Why are you protecting predators?”

Mr. Flanagan did not return repeated calls seeking comment.

Those pushing the legislation have met with Mr. Cuomo and his staff over the past year and a half, and they say that communication continues.

“It is outrageous that as a result of arcane laws, these victims have been denied their day in court,” Rich Azzopardi, a spokesman for Mr. Cuomo said in an email. “We are working with the advocates to determine the most effective way to achieve these much needed reforms.”

The measure, which has been spearheaded by the victim organization Safe Horizon for over a decade, has faced consistent opposition from the Catholic church and other groups that serve young people. Dennis Poust, the director of communications for the New York State Catholic Conference, said that while the state’s bishops support forward-looking legislation to raise the statute of limitations, they opposed the window that might open the church up to decades worth of claims.

Activists say such a window is an important way to flush out predators who may have evaded detection, who may even still have access to children, and Linda B. Rosenthal, a Democrat from Manhattan and the bill’s sponsor in the…

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