NY lawmakers push to change statute of limitations for sex crimes

WTEN-TV - For over a decade, groups have fought to get the Child Victims Act passed in New York, but this year things could be different.

“I was raped at the Emma Willard School in Troy, New York in 1998 by a man that was my history professor,” Kat Sullivan, Sexual Assault Survivor, said.

Sullivan says it took her a while to come to terms with what had happened, but when she came forward to the school, she was surprised by their response.

“They basically said there is no civil or criminal statute of limitations and that they are really sorry that any harm was done to me but they have no liability.

Sullivan’s story is not uncommon. According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, 45 percent of child abuse victims do not tell anyone for five years and often the statute of limitations has already expired when a victim is ready to come forward.

“The average age for an individual to confront the fact that they have been abused is over 40 years old for men,” Senator Brad Holyman (D-Manhattan) said.

The Governor included the Child Victims Act in his budget proposal this year. The bill as it is worded now would include extending the statute of limitations for sex crimes so a victim would have until they are 28 to report and allow a victim to sue until they turn 50.

“The bill is going to provide justice for people who are very badly hurt so now is the moment to get this done,” Senate Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart Cousins (D-Yonkers) said.

Many blame the failure of the act last year on the Senate Republicans since it was passed in the Assembly, but failed in the Republican-controlled Senate. Senator Catherine Young says the act will be carefully reviewed but could make no promises as to whether she will be voting for it.

“This is something that will be negotiated through the final budget so I haven’t seen that yet. It hasn’t been really been discussed or flushed out yet so we’ll see what people come up with,” Senator Young (R-Olean) said.

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