Help Survivors of Child Abuse from New York State

The Child Victims Act in New York State needs your help!

As many of you know there is a "Statute of Limitations" (SOL) when it comes to holding child abusers accountable. A "Statute of Limitations" sets the maximum period which one can wait before filing a lawsuit.

When it comes to abuse of children, most survivors don't speak up and seek justice until they are adults (for many reasons including the ability to realize and comprehend what happened to them as children and the process of overcoming the shame and guilt, which is sadly common among victims). As you can imagine, by the time an abused child is an adult, the "Statute of Limitations" has often expired. The abuser continues to break the law and harm children and is never held accountable.

In 2002 the California legislature passed amendments to its statute of limitations on child sex abuse, essentially opening a "window", which gave survivors one year (2003) to file claims even if the statute of limitations for their claims already had expired.

The New York Legislation is now considering such a "window" to give sex abuse victims the opportunity to seek justice and for the criminals to be held accountable even if the SOL has expired.

"There are two competing bills in the Legislature--the Duane/Markey Bill (S2568/A2596) also known as the Child Victims Act (CVA) favored by advocates for children and victims of abuse, and the Kruger/Lopez Bill (S3107-A/A5708-A) favored by the Catholic Church." (from the VOTF website)

As you can imagine I support the Duane/Markey Bill and urge you to do the same.

There is even a possibility that this will directly effect the MKs who survived abuse at their missionary boarding school featured in All God's Children - because the headquarters of the overseeing mission-sending organization and Church (Christian and Missionary Alliance) was in Nyack, New York, during the time the children were abused overseas by C&MA missionaries.

THIS IS WHAT YOU CAN DO TO HELP:

  • Contact Senator Craig Johnson (details below)
  • Contact Assemblyman Vito Lopez, who is partially responsible for the “Hide the Predator” bill (details below)
  • Contact your own representatives (local, state and national to help effectuate SOL reform throughout the country)
  • Use this form to send a sample message urging for SOL reform to NY Assembly Members, Senators or elected official in other states.

For more information about the the SOL in general and what the rules are in your own state, please check out the website Statute of Limitations Reform.

Here are more links for your information
and action (provided by Jesse Loffler, manager of SOL-Reform.com):

- Assemblywoman Markey’s Statements on the Amended Child Victims Act: http://www.sol-reform.com/images/CVA-Markey-Jun14.pdf and http://www.sol-reform.com/images/CVA-Markey-Jun4.pdf

- Professor Marci Hamilton, FindLaw June 11 Column, The Maturing of a Movement: Statute of Limitations Reform for Sex Abuse Victims: http://writ.news.findlaw.com/hamilton/20090611.html

- Contact Vito Lopez in his Brooklyn and Albany offices at 718-963-7029 and 518-455-5537 respectively or e-mail LopezV@assembly.state.ny.us to express your firm support for the Child Victims Act.

- Contact Senator Craig Johnson to support the CVA! Senator Johnson was once a supporter of the CVA and is now on the fence in the face of Lopez bill. Please contact him if you can to support the window legislation in the Markey CVA – the only tried and true method of identifying abusers. Senator Johnson can be reached at 516-746-5923 (District Office), 518-455-2622 (Albany Office), or by e-mail at Johnson@senate.state.ny.us . There is also a list of senators on the home page of www.sol-reform.com.

- Past CVAs as examples of why NY legislators should vote yes – California and Delaware: http://www.sol-reform.com/Pages/Legislators-Protecting-Children.html (including a list of legislators who voted for reform in Cal. and Del. – there were no nays.)

And please remember: even though the Catholic Church apparently is against this bill, sex abuse of children is NOT just a Catholic problem - not even if the predator is a clergy member. Children get abused in all different settings, cultures, Christian denominations and other faith groups, schools and even in their own family.

Thank you for taking the time to read this, consider this and maybe even supporting the rights of survivors through voicing your opinion.

FYI, I took the liberty to use some phrases from some of the websites listed above.