Independent candidate for Governor calls on Conservative Party Leader to support passage
Joel Giambra, independent candidate for Governor, is calling on Republican leaders – including gubernatorial contenders Marc Molinaro and John DeFrancisco – to back the Child Victims Act. Giambra wants Majority Leader John Flanagan to bring the bill up for a vote on the Senate floor this month – something that Flanagan and Deputy Majority Leader DeFrancisco have been unwilling to do. Both Senators oppose the bill and have defended the current statute of limitations, which has infuriated survivors of childhood sexual abuse.
DeFrancisco, who is now a candidate for Governor, has sparred with the bill’s advocates in Albany – and Flanagan has, on many occasions, refused to speak with victims lobbying at the State Capitol. The Catholic Church is aggressively opposed to the bill, concerned that it invites a wave of claims that could drive churches, schools, and youth programs into bankruptcy.
“It seems that the leaders of the Republican and Conservative Parties are more concerned with protecting the bank accounts of abusers than protecting New York’s children. To turn an unconscionably callous eye to the horrific abuse that these institutions have enabled ignores victims and their decades-long trail of tears,” Giambra says. “If this Bill does not come up for a vote in the Senate this session, we all should be reflecting on what we have become under the leadership of Johns Flanagan and DeFrancisco?”
Most individuals who are sexually abused as children never report it. Often, the trauma leads to alcoholism, drug abuse, depression, suicide, or other psychological problems. Last year, eight States have extended or eliminated statutes of limitations for the reporting of childhood sexual abuse.
New York has among the most archaic laws in the Nation, requiring most child sex-abuse victims to sue by the age of 23 – which is 19 years before the average age that victims report such abuse. The bill also creates a one-year window during which victims can bring civil claims for abuses that took place decades ago.
The Child Victims Act, if passed by the State Senate, extends the statute of limitations to age 50 in civil cases, and to age 28 in criminal cases. The proposed bill has widespread bipartisan support — passing the Assembly in 2017 by a vote of 139 to 7. Governor Andrew Cuomo has promised to sign it.