Governor Cuomo makes protecting New York children from sexual abuse a priority for 2017 Legislative Session
New York, NY: Governor Cuomo announced today that protecting children from sexual abuse will be one of his priorities in 2017.
Specifically, the governor wants to eliminate New York’s Statute of Limitations (SOL’s) for child sexual abuse in civil and criminal court and allow victims already affected by the SOL one year in which to file suit in civil court.
“Right now, 90% of the people who sexually abuse children never see a day behind bars because of New York’s Statute of Limitations on the crime. That’s wrong, that’s shameful, and that sentences more children to sexual abuse ” says Gary Greenberg, founder of the Fighting for Children Political Action Committee. “I applaud Governor Cuomo for his courage to stand up for victims of child sex abuse. I call on Majority Leader Flanagan, Speaker Heastie and IDC Leader Klein to work with us to pass this Child Victims act so that the prison doors will be closed for child serial rapist like Louis Van Wie who was only ever charged with two crimes but confessed to more than 300. It is time for New York to bring healing to our victims and protection to our children.”
Louis Van Wie was convicted for the sexual abuse of two children, but admitted to abusing 300 and over a hundred victims came forward who couldn’t press charges because of the Statute of Limitations.
“Sexually abused children suffer a lifetime of physical, mental, and emotional pain. It takes them, on average, 21 years to be able to talk about their trauma, and by that time New York’s Statute of Limitations bar most of them from court. The Omnibus Child Victims Act fixes that by ensuring victims have access to justice, predators are identified, and children are protected.” says Andrew Willis, CEO of the Stop Abuse Campaign.
The plan the Governor unveiled today would eliminate the criminal Statute of Limitations completely, lengthen the civil SOL to 50 years after the commission of the crime, and give victims who have already been barred from the courts one year in which to sue their abuser.
Some version of Statute of Limitations reform has been introduced every year in New York for at least a decade. While the concept of giving victims more time to press charges is generally popular with politicians and the public alike, the so-called “lookback window” that would allow victims already too old to press charges one year to sue their abuser, has been fought against fiercely by the Roman Catholic Church who have spent more than $2 million lobbying against the bill.
“This isn’t about attacking religious institutions. It’s about protecting children from sexual abuse by closing the loopholes that let 90% of sex offenders stay on the streets and off the registries, endangering children. People on the street get this. That’s what polls show, and that’s why a petition on the issue was able to pick up 30,000 signatures in a week.Governor Cuomo understands this and is willing to do what is necessary to pass this bill.” said Melanie Blow, COO of the Stop Abuse Campaign.
The change.org petition on the protectnykids.org website, that urges Gov. Cuomo to pass the Omnibus Child Victims Act, a bill introduced by Senator Brad Hoylman that is very similar to Cuomo’s proposed bill
1 in 5 New York Kids Are Sexually Abused. Help Prevent That
The CDC reports that 1 in 5 children are sexually abused.
9 out of 10 of the perpetrators are never brought to justice and never appear on sex offender registries.
They are protected by New York State laws.
Sign this petition and change that. Protect NY Kids.