March 2017 Church & State - March 2016

NY Wants To Expand Statute Of Limitations For Sex Abuse

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New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) has introduced a revised version of the Child Victims Act that would remove the statute of limitations on prosecution of abusers in public and private institutions around the state.

Cuomo’s proposal would allow adults who were abused as children to file civil lawsuits up to 50 years after the attacks occurred, and would allow victims who couldn’t bring their cases to court due to current statute-of-limitations laws to have a one-year window to do so.

Some states began considering laws like this in the wake of a wide-ranging child-abuse scandal in the Catholic Church. The revisions have been met with opposition; some religious organizations that are arguing that the proposed one-year window of reporting and re-visiting old cases is unfair.

New York State Catholic Conference spokesman Dennis Poust told The New York Daily News on Jan. 12 that church officials should see more details regarding Cuomo’s proposal while emphasizing that the church will continue opposing the proposed one-year lookback window.

But Cuomo argued that these changes are necessary because current state laws regarding child abuse reporting are “outdated.”

“These survivors deserve justice, plain and simple,” Cuomo told the Daily News. “Giving victims the opportunity to advance their claims in court is the right thing to do and I urge the legislature to join me and pass this measure once and for all.”


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