Historic enactment today of the New York Child Victims Act

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The State Legislature of New York taking action where Pennsylvania’s State Senate stalled last year. 

Victims of child sex abuse say it’s been a long-fought battle.  Survivors and supporters gathered at the Capitol Monday morning in Albany, New York to show their support for the child victim’s act.

The state legislature is expected to approve the bill.  Victims and advocates say it’s time abusers are held accountable.

Mary Ellen O’Loughlin of the Foundation for Survivors of Abuse, says, “I’m going to sue my abuser for my sake but also for my brothers and sisters because he’s never truly, fully accepted responsibility and people in his life don’t know.”

Under the new law, survivors outside the statute of limitations will have a year to file a civil suit against their abusers.  Governor Andrew Cuomo is expected to sign the measure.

The full news release can be found below:

Over fifteen years ago, Assemblywoman Marge Markey initiated the battle in New York to reform the statutes of limitation for child sex abuse.  New York has been one of the worst states in the country for access to justice for victims, alongside Alabama and Mississippi.  

On Monday, January 28, 2019, the Assembly and Senate will pass the Child Victims Act and make history.  Under the leadership of Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Sen. Brad Hoylman, Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal, Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, the dream of a Child Victims Act is coming true.  
 
New York’s Child Victims Act:
•    Includes a “lookback” window that permits victims of child sex abuse whose statute of limitations have expired to file civil lawsuits against perpetrators and responsible institutions for a one-year period, starting 6 months from enactment
•    Extends the civil statute of limitations from age 23 to age 55 for cases in the future
•    Extends the criminal statute of limitations from age 23 to age 28 for most sex abuse crimes (in 2006, New York eliminated the criminal SOL for some felonies)
•    Removes the 90-day notice of claim provision for actions against the government including public schools

New York will now join the 9 other states and Washington DC that have revived expired civil SOLs for the purpose of providing justice to the many victims who have been unfairly excluded from the legal system by short SOLs.  For more details, see the 2018 Snapshot at childusa.org/law.
 
CHILD USA is the leading nonprofit think tank working to end child abuse and neglect and focuses on child sex abuse statute of limitations.  According to Founder and CEO, Professor Marci Hamilton, who worked with Assemblywoman Marge Markey on the original bill and continued to the present, “We have been working for over 15 years to make this a reality in a state where the Catholic Conference held sway, effectively blocking all victims of child sex abuse from obtaining justice.  It has taken an army of survivors and advocates to overcome the opposition, but we are finally here at the mountaintop.  With passage of the Child Victims Act, New York is taking a major step forward in child protection and the identification of child predators.  Survivors deserved justice long ago; it is a relief that they will finally know that the state of New York hears them and supports them.”  
 
Hollywood whistleblower, brave survivor, and CHILD USA Ambassador Corey Feldman says: “Today’s victory is not just monumental, but historical in nature, as it signals the crest of the coming tide which is the children’s rights movement. Now is the time for survivors like myself to finally seek justice in the great state of New York against their assailants and the organizations that empowered them. Thank you to Marci, and all of the soldiers at CHILD USA, and thank you Governor Cuomo for not giving up on the children. We must continue this march forward, state by state, until our nation can be one, and great, once again.” #Kids2
 
Justin Conway, survivor of a prominent tae kwon do coach, advocate, and CHILD USA Ambassador, states: “The NY Child Victims Act protects the innocence of children and will serve as a model for the rest of the country. This monumental legislation effectively revokes immunity for pedophiles and the institutions that protected them.  In NY, those that prey on children can no longer hide behind antiquated laws. Survivors will now have access to a court of law and an opportunity for justice.  As a survivor, I am grateful to Governor Cuomo, Rep. Brad Hoylman, Marci Hamilton (CHILD USA), and the state of NY for working to protect children by ensuring survivors of childhood sexual abuse have the right to seek justice in a court of law.”  
 
Professor Hamilton joined forces with priest survivor and award-winning journalist Stephen Jimenez and family survivor and coach Kathryn Robb to create New Yorkers Against Hidden Predators, which has been working with CHILD USA to fight for the Child Victims Act.  
 
Jimenez states, “The twelve-year battle for the Child Victims Act has been arduous and sometimes provoked despair and disillusionment in the hearts of survivors and advocates. But, at the end of the day, the glaring light of truth and justice has triumphed. As a survivor, the bill’s passage means an end to shame, silence and invisibility in the face of institutional cover-up. Finally I can hold the guilty parties accountable in a court of law. At this time of divisive chaos in American life, our struggle for justice for victims of child sex abuse has restored my faith in what we can accomplish together as citizens when we follow our moral compass. In some sense, our efforts on behalf of children have just begun.”
 
Kathryn Robb comments, “After a long 12-year battle the voices of so many survivors and advocates have risen together. We have battled the powerful, those who put greed and cover-up before truth, fairness and the safety of children. As a survivor who has carried the pain and shame of abuse for a lifetime, I am grateful to Governor Cuomo, Senator Hoylman, Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins and Speaker Heastie for their leadership. The CVA is a light of truth, and the light of truth will now guide so many to justice, and expose predators and the institutions that conceal them. Finally, the law in NY will protect victims and children and not predators. Finally, justice has arrived.”
 
Sarah Klein, survivor of former Olympic Team doctor Larry Nassar, said, “Nothing is more important for the healing of sexual abuse survivors is seeing their abusers and the institutions that enable abuse brought to justice. The New York Child Victims Act will open the New York courts to a generation of survivors who have been suffering in silence. Governor Cuomo and the leadership of the state legislature deserve tremendous credit for breaking a decade long logjam and moving this important law forward.”

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