Margaret M. Markey, Member of Assembly
Sponsor of the Child Victims Act
Eight years ago, I first introduced a bill to extend the current statute of limitations for child sexual abuse for an extra five years beyond current law, extending the time for a victim to come forward with allegations of abuse to the age of 28. I saw how so many victims of abuse were not able to come to grips with what happened to them until they were older and my colleagues and I thought this modest extension would be a good first step toward a more equitable law.
After adopting this bill four times in the Assembly since 2006, but failing to see it ever come to the floor of the State Senate, we have had shocking revelations emerge in the U.S. and around the world that clearly demonstrate why adding a few years to the statute of limitations is no longer enough. That is why my new legislation, A1771, now seeks to completely eliminate the criminal and civil statute of limitations for child sex abuse crimes in New York State.
There is no limit on what is so often a life-time of suffering and anguish for victims of child sex abuse; likewise, there must be no limit on the ability of victims and society to prosecute abusers and to hold accountable the institutions and organizations who protect and hide them making it possible for them to continue to prey on new victims.”
Children Can't Win Without Your Support
It takes a village to raise a child. New York’s children need your support to win freedom from sexual predators.
The Omnibus Child Victims Act
We all know that child sexual abuse is bad. If our child, or grandchild, or any child we hold, spoil and watch grow up is sexually abused, our lives would be irrevocably changed. We’d forever ask ourselves what more we could have done to protect them, but protecting them starts now.
There is a 90% chance that anyone who sexually abuses a child won’t see a day behind bars.
Child sexual abuse is so damaging in so many different ways that survivors need, on average, 21 years before they can talk about it. And in New York, most survivors lose their right to press charges in criminal or civil court on their 23rd birthday. That’s because New York has a Statute of Limitations on the crime that is among the worst in the nation. Sometimes the local news has a story about a case going to trial, and that’s because a child or very young adult was very brave and very lucky. But the burden of incarcerating the most vile adults in our society shouldn’t rest on the littlest shoulders.
When someone sexually abuses a child and gets away with it, they usually go on to abuse more. New York’s Statute of Limitations ensures that most offenders will get away with it, again and again. And they ensure that one out of five of New York’s children will be sexually abused by their 18th birthday.
The Omnibus Child Victims Act eliminates the state’s Statute of Limitations for child sexual abuse in criminal court and civil court, and gives adult victims a year in which they can sue their abusers and the institutions that facilitated their abuse. This civil part is important. Sueing abusers generates court documents that prove someone is a sex offender, and these same documents can keep sex offenders from working with kids, adopting them, or becoming a foster parent. Sueing institutions like schools and churches that allowed sexual abuse to happen under their watch, or didn’t take reasonable steps to prevent it, gives them a financial incentive not to do that again.
You would think politicians would be tripping over themselves to sign this bill into law, but that’s not the case. A very powerful lobbying effort, lead by the Roman Catholic Church, has made most politicians afraid to do the right thing.
This PAC, Fighting for Children, was started to make legislators feel the consequences of vote against our children. To make them feel the consequences of supporting sex offenders. To make them do the right thing for New York’s families.