Child Victims Act Due For Vote Monday - Today!
By Karen Dewitt • Jan 25, 2019
New York State Capitol
The Catholic Church recently pulled back on its long standing opposition to provisions of the Child Victims Act that end the statute of limitations for survivors to bring suits against their abusers.
But church leaders said the measure, as written, might shield public schools and other institutions, like hospitals, because it did not change a law that says anyone filing suit against a public entity must file a notice of claim by 90 days after the incident.
State Senate sponsor Brad Hoylman says he believes the measure supersedes that rule and would treat private and public institutions equally. But he says he and the Assembly sponsor, Linda Rosenthal, are adding clarifying language to the bill, to end any doubts.
“We’ll do everything we can to make it as explicit as possible,” Hoylman said. “That the bill is even-handed in its application to both public and private institutions.”
The Catholic Church dropped all opposition to the bill Thursday night.
Assemblywoman Rosenthal in a statement said, “The horrific sins of past abuse can never be absolved, but the passage of the Child Victims Act will deliver an opportunity for accountability and redress that survivors in New York have never before had.”
Senator Hoylman says passing the law would give survivors some justice, and would also prevent future victims because the court actions would “out” alleged perpetrators and remove them from situations where they interact with children.
“There’s a very important public safely component,” Hoylman said. “Through the rules of evidence and normal discovery, it helps point out the fact that some predators may still be working in schools or have contact with children because they’ve never been identified as such.”
The bill is on the legislative calendar for Monday.
Previous major opposition to the Child Victims Act came from the Catholic Diocese, who says they now support the bill after language that covers all public entities, including schools, was added. NYS Catholic Conference Communications Director Dennis Poust issued this statement to Spectrum News:
"We are pleased the sponsors have amended the Child Victims Act to include all survivors of abuse wherever it occurred. We have therefore removed our previous opposition and pray that survivors find the healing they so desperately deserve. We have long supported strengthening the legislation to include additional measures such as removal of criminal statutes of limitation completely, funding for safe environment training for public and private institutions, and compensation programs for those who prefer it to litigation. We will continue to advocate for those measures in future legislation."
The CVA vote is expected to pass both the Assembly and the Senate, and then be immediately signed into law by Cuomo on Monday. The law will take effect immediately.