Legislators said the Child Victims Act will pass as the Catholic Church eases its long-held opposition to the bill.
Survivors of child sexual assault will earn a victory today as legislators move to extend New York’s statute of limitations to give child sex abuse victims more time to sue and pursue criminal charges.
Advocates have been working to advance the Child Victims Act over opposition from groups including the Catholic Church and the Boy Scouts of America.
Bills passed in the Democrat-controlled Assembly the last two years, but the Senate refused to hold a vote. As Democrats took control of the Senate this year, advocates were optimistic the bill would finally pass.
Democrats have moved quickly in January to pass multiple reforms. The bill’s sponsors, Assemblymember Linda Rosenthal and Sen. Brad Hoylman, both Democrats from Manhattan, announced last week it will be up for a vote in both houses today.
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Source: (Syracuse.com) NY Child Victims Act: What new law means for sex abusers, victims
The bill would extend to a range of positions and professions across church, state, and private insitutions, but provides explicit exemptions for the confessional, and priests would not be required to report abuse they learned about in that context.
Excerpts from story as reported in CNA (Catholic News Agency):
.- A law has been proposed in the District of Columbia which will broaden the classification of those required to report instances of child abuse or neglect. The bill would apply to clergy but make exceptions for the sacrament of confession.
“Teachers, health professionals, and clergy have a special responsibility to protect children, but far too often abuse goes unreported or is covered up,” said Attorney General Karl Racine in a statement to the media.
“To help stop child abuse in the District, this bill requires more adults to report it and trains them on how to spot it.”
A spokeswoman for the Archdiocese of Washington released a statement saying that the archdiocese was aware of the draft bill but had not yet seen a final version. Director of Media and Public Relations Chieko Noguchi noted that the archdiocese had “long been supportive” of such policies.
Currently, everyone over the age of 18 in the District of Columbia is required to report suspected or known abuse of a child under the age of 16 to police. Mandatory reporters, however, are subject to enhanced requirements, and can receive thousands of dollars of fines and up to six months in prison for failing to report cases of abuse.
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Source: DC attorney general proposes bill to make clergy mandatory reporters
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced that the Child Victims Act, for which we have been fighting for 15 years, will pass this year with his full support. With both houses controlled by Democrats, the leadership of Sen. Brad Hoylman, now Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal, he is surely correct. The barrier to passage until now has been Republican lawmakers kneeling to the Catholic bishops and in particular New York City Archdiocese’s Cardinal Timothy Dolan. The latter is not going down, though he is decidedly going down on this issue, without a final whining tour about justice for child sex abuse victims.
Dolan’s latest volley was an op-ed in the New York Daily News that is filled with misstatements and ugly implications. He tries two “Hail Mary” passes. First, he says that the governor’s bill will not treat public schools the same as private institutions. This is simply not true, but even if it were, there is no question the intent is to put private and public entities on the same footing and any additional language Dolan wants to further nail home this point can be easily added. The Democratic leadership in New York is 100% on board in wanting to protect children from sex abuse in every arena. Therefore, at least from Dolan’s rhetoric, he should be on board with the CVA. Not so fast.
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Source: Verdict.Justia.com Cardinal Timothy Dolan Proves Once Again the Church Will Never Reform Itself without the Law and Civil Society Behind It
ALBANY, N.Y. (WTEN) – New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced on Friday that the Child Victims Act will be included in the 2019 Executive Budget.
Gov. Cuomo vows to enact the act within the first 100 days of the new legislative session.
The legislation would ensure anyone who abuses children will be held accountable criminally and civilly and that survivors of childhood sexual abuse have a path to justice.
- Increases the amount of time during which perpetrators of these crimes may be held criminally accountable;
- Allows victims of these crimes to commence a civil lawsuit at any time before they reach 50 years of age;
- Provides victims whose claims have been time-barred a new opportunity for their day in court by opening a one-year window for them to commence their action;
- Eliminates the need to file a notice of claim for sexual offenses committed against a minor;
- Requires judicial training with respect to crimes involving the sexual abuse of minors;
- Authorizes the Office of Court Administration to promulgate rules and regulations for the timely adjudication of revived actions.
The Governor’s office says under current law, child sexual abuse offenses cannot be prosecuted after five years from their occurrence. Civil lawsuits for this conduct must also be brought within three years from the victim’s 18th birthday.
Deb Rosen from Bivona child advocacy has been waiting for this, saying, “there’s been significant pushback from large institutions who worry about an onslaught of lawsuits that could result in bankruptcy or other repercussions.”
One of those institutions has been the Catholic church, which has taken issue with the part of the bill that would allow victims who’ve passed the statute of limitations to have a one year window to reopen their case.
The Catholic Conference released a statement in 2016 on the bill saying: “this extraordinary provision would force institutions to defend alleged conduct decades ago about which they have no knowledge, and in which they had no role, potentially involving employees long retired, dead or infirm, based on information long lost, if it ever existed.”
Source: Gov. Cuomo: Child Victims Act to be included in executive budget
RIVERSIDE, Calif. (Legal Newsline) – A California appeals court has affirmed a more than $4 million judgment against the nation’s leading body of Jehovah’s Witnesses in favor of a woman who claims she was molested as a child in by a church elder.
Source: California court upholds $4 million sex abuse judgment against Jehovah’s Witnesses Watchtower organization
Yet again, efforts to reform Pennsylvania’s child sex crimes laws appear to have failed in the Legislature. The Senate’s top leader on Wednesday lamented the failure, but left room open for more talks.
Source: ‘It’s a disaster’: Senate leader laments end of sex abuse victims bill, open to talks
House amendment would open a 2-year window for now-adult victims of childhood abuse to file claims.