Briella TomassettiDec 18, 2017, 6:24 pmDec 19, 2017, 3:57 pm

Child Victims Act: Officials asked to choose between protecting kids or predators

Survivors call on senators to extend statute of limitations so they can take abusers to court


MINEOLA — New York State has one of the strictest statutes of limitations in the country. Currently, state law doesn't allow victims of child sexual abuse to sue sexual predators after they turn 23 years old.

Long Island sexual abuse survivors and advocates are calling on local politicians to support a law that would extend the statute of limitations on sexual misconduct cases.

"The members of the state legislature have a choice between protecting children and protecting predators,” said Marci Hamilton, CEO of Child USA.

Survivors and advocates protested Monday morning in front of Senator Elaine Phillips' office in Mineola, pushing the New York Senate to support the “Child Victims Act” in its 2018 budget. The law would not only create a yearlong window for previously unaddressed civil claims but, more importantly, they say it would give them justice.

"I was first sexually assaulted when I was 8 years old, not very far from here, in Manhasset. And I was repeatedly sexually assaulted until I was about 14 or 15," Kathryn Robb said.

After demonstrating in front of Sen. Phillips' office, another protest was held in front of Sen. Marcellino's office in Oyster Bay as part of a campaign to put pressure on Republican state senators they believe are against the bill.

Protest organizers, New Yorkers Against Hidden Predators, are zeroing in on Republicans they claim have refused to consider the bill, including State Senator Majority Leader John Flanagan.

"All of these costs are defrayed to the taxpayer of New York because the senator and her conference will not bring this to a float vote," sexual assault survivor Shaun Dougherty said.

But Sen. Phillips disagreed with those claims in a statement she gave us, saying, “My heart breaks for the victims of childhood sexual assault, and I believe it is time the legislature works to find solutions to support those who have been abused. Recognizing that most children do not disclose the abuse until they are much older, we need to lengthen the statute of limitations to protect any future victims. I have been in discussions with my colleagues regarding this issue and hope to take action during the upcoming legislative session."

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Oyster Bay, New York