The Justice Gap
Average Years To Disclose Abuse
Years NYS Allows To Disclose
# Children An Abuser Harms
9 out of 10 child sex abusers still on New York’s Streets. Not on sex offender registries.
Rapists walking free protected by New York State Laws.
I’m Gary Greenberg, like many of you I am a survivor of child sexual abuse and I’ve invested my pension money into this campaign to protect New York’s children, your children. But I need your help.
New York’s state senate and assembly have consistently turned down legislation that would end statutes of limitations on child sexual abuse. Statutes of limitations are laws that prevent victims from taking their abuser to court and holding them accountable. This keeps all our children at risk by keeping child molesters on the streets and off of sex offender registries According to the FBI and the CDC one in five of New York’s children are sexually abused. And New York’s government is doing nothing to prevent it. Buckling under pressure from the Roman Catholic Church and some orthodox Jewish groups, our legislators continue to protect the people who rape children and not the children themselves.
My story perfectly illustrates the problem with statutes of limitations.
My father was admitted to Cohoes Memorial Hospital in 1966. I was just eight years old. When I went to visit my father, a 24-year old hospital orderly named Louis Vanwie offered to show me around. Instead of the promised hospital tour, however, he instead took me into a room and instead took a sexual tour of my body. I was terrified, I didn’t know what to do. He told me he would kill my mother and father if I told anyone. So I did what most victims do. Nothing.
And that’s the problem.
New York’s current laws demand that a victim of child sexual abuse claim justice within 5 years of their age of majority, before their 23rd birthday. If not, the statutes of limitations kick in. Yet research repeatedly shows that it takes an average of 21 years for a victim to overcome the shame and disclose their abuse. This means for the vast majority of us are barred from justice by the time we are able to disclose our abuse and the perpetrators are free to keep abusing. Sadly, many predators are lifelong abusers, with as many as 100 victims. My attacker, Louis Vanwie, admitted to sexually abusing more than 300 other children. And of the abused who ultimately came forward, I was the first. Imagine how that makes me feel every day. I was silenced by shame and 299 more children suffered.
When we protect perpetrators and not children, we protect their ability to sexually abuse more children.
We’ve all read stories about Roman Catholic priests who, transferred to another parish by a church trying to protect its name, continue abusing more children. And is it not just priests. We hear the same story from Horace Mann and Penn State, schools for whom protecting their good name was more important than protecting the children in their charge, even when there was overwhelming evidence. When churches and schools are sued they fight tooth and nail to protect their reputations, but when the courts make them pay, or more realistically their insurance companies, those insurance companies ensure that rock solid child protection policies are put in place to protect children from abuse and themselves from more claims.
That’s why the Child Victims Act is important to everybody in New York. Because unless we deliver justice, unless we pass the Child Victim’s Act to protect our children, sick and twisted child molesters and pedophiles will continue to roam free to target our children.
Join us today. Become a part of history. Help me change New York’s laws so we protect children and not those that rape them.