Reforming the Statute of Limitations for Child Sex Abuse: New York’s Child Victims Act Shouldn’t Be Political, But It Is By MARCI A. HAMILTON June 10, 2010
Last week, the New York Child Victims Act (available at http://open.nysenate.gov/legislation/bill/S5893A ) was defeated in the Senate Codes Committee. For New York’s children, it was a choice that favors child predators, and therefore a bad day. However, it was an interesting session and the bill will be re-introduced next session — and every session until it is passed, according to sponsors Assemblywoman Marge Markey and Senator Ruth Hassell-Thompson. The only impact is that child predators have one more year to operate under the anonymity afforded by New York’s extremely short statutes of limitations for child sex abuse….
Currently, New York has one of the stingiest statutes of limitations for child sex abuse in the entire country — 18 years-old for criminal charges and 23 for civil claims. In the future, it is inevitable that New York will radically expand these statutes of limitations for child sex abuse, because justice demands it, and because that is the trend in the entire country. Florida just eliminated all of its statutes of limitations for child sex abuse; Delaware did the same thing in 2007; Connecticut gives victims until age 48; Pennsylvania until age 53; New Jersey has a liberal discovery rule (which New York courts rejected, saying it was an issue for the legislature)….
Research establishes that one in four girls, and one in five boys, are sexually abused. Not only clergy child-sex-abuse victims, but incest victims too, are increasingly demanding their day in court, and the kind of statute-of-limitations reform that would make that possible.