New York To Pass Bill Giving Sex Abuse Victims More Time To Sue

NEW YORK (WCBS 880/AP) – The New York State Legislature is expected to pass legislation Monday that would extend the statute of limitations for child sex abuse victims.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has said the measure would offer justice to child molestation victims who have suffered a “horrendous violation in life.”

"The only sin I believe greater than abusing a child would be protecting those who abuse a child," Cuomo said. 

The governor spoke Monday while flanked by eight victims of child molestation who were in Albany for the expected passage of the Child Victims Act.

Every year for the past 15 years, the Child Victims Act has died in the hands of the Republican-controlled New York Senate. Now that the chamber is in Democratic hands, it’s expected to pass.

New York State Catholic Conference spokesman Dennis Poust has said his organization has long called for legislation to help survivors of child sex abuse, though it has opposed this bill for years.

“One of our main concerns about that was it only applied to private institutions as written,” Poust told WCBS 880.

But that has been rectified now that lawmakers have included public institutions among those that can be subject to litigation.

Poust says the Catholic Conference has dropped its opposition but still isn’t in full support.

“We’ve said we’d be in full support if they’d eliminate the criminal statute of limitations completely,” Poust said. “And if they did give victims an option for compensation programs over costly litigation.”

Multiple reports indicate that the bill would allow child sex abuse victims to file criminal lawsuits until their 28 and civil lawsuits until their 55 – both an increase from the current age limit of 23.

The legislation would also create a one-year window for victims to file lawsuits now barred by the statute of limitations.