NY Assemblywoman Pushes for Statute of Limitations Reform in Child Sex Abuse Cases

New York law is being scrutinized for its statute of limitation provisions in child sex abuse cases. New York Daily News reports that Assemblywoman Margaret Markey, a longtime advocate for sexual abuse victims, is proposing that the NYS Child Sex Abuse law be revised to eliminate criminal and civil statutes of limitation for child sexual abuse. The proposed bill would also provide a one-time, one-year window for victims to file if their cases were barred by former SOL. The bill is currently in the assembly, with hopes that Markey can push it through to the Senate and then to the Governor.

Current New York law states that child sexual abuse victims can bring a criminal or civil lawsuit against their abuse until the age of 23. After that, they no longer have the legal grounds to do so. According to NY Daily News, critics call the state’s archaic law “a national shame” considering the fact that many do not report the abuse until adulthood. The current SOL is one of the shortest windows in the country, and many say it gives abusers a way to dodge their actions. Since 2006, efforts to pass the Child Victims Acts have failed four times in New York.

“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,”

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.

“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.”

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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