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NY Criticized over Statute of Limitations for Child Abuse

May 4, 2016

Assemblywoman Margaret Markey is pushing a bill that proposes to give child sex abuse victims a chance for justice. NY Daily News reports that New York has been criticized as "a national shame" when it comes to statute of limitations for victims. Current law states that victims of child sex abuse have until the age of 23 to bring civil or criminal charges against their abuser. The proposed NYS Child Sex Abuse law seeks to eliminate the SOL for civil and criminal charges.

Additionally, victims who have been unable to pursue claims due to the current SOL would have a one-time, one-year window to file their cases. The bill is currently in the assembly, with hopes that Markey can push it through to the Senate and then to the Governor. Since 2006, efforts to pass the Child Victims Acts have failed four times in New York.

The current New York State SOL is one of the shortest windows in the country. Critics say it provides abusers an opportunity to avoid consequences for their actions; they simply have to wait it out. "New York is among the very worst states in America for how it treats victims of childhood sexual abuse," Assemblywoman Markey said in a statement, according to NY Daily News. "This is the year to change that deplorable situation."

A 2010 National Institutes of Health study found that 80 percent of child sex abuse victims will not tell anyone about the incident until adulthood. "Why lock out people who haven't had a chance to recover from their injury brought on them by adults?" said Georgia Rep. Jason Spencer, who sponsored a bill to reform the laws in his state, according to NY Daily News. "You are protecting pedophiles when you do this. This is not justice,"

In 2013, it was revealed that numerous students at Horace Mann, the elite Bronx preparatory school, reported being sexually abused from the 1960s into the 1990s. According to NY Daily News, as many 64 students report being abused by at least 22 faculty members. If passed, the bill would give victims an opportunity to bring their abuses to court without imposing a deadline.

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