Alleged Syracuse University abuse victims come to Albany to lobby for tougher laws
ALBANY, N.Y.--The men who say they were sexually abused by former Syracuse basketball coach Bernie Fine were in Albany Tuesday, asking for new laws giving victims more time to report abuse.
Bobby Davis and Michael Lang are among the men accusing Fine of abuse years ago, when they were children.
"You've got to keep fighting," says Davis. "I fought alone for a long time."
Davis and Lang, now 40 and 45 years old, say they suffered abuse by Fine when they were ball boys at the university, unable to press charges because the statute of limitations expired.
"Everything I've been through has really intimidated me, but I just think I have to keep going," says Davis. "There have been many times where I just want to stop, and I look at my wife and say I can't do this anymore. She says, "Well, what matters to you the most?" and I say the children, my kids."
Assemblywoman Margaret Markey claims her Child Victim's Act would give Davis and Lang their day in court, not only increasing the statute of limitations to age 28 for victims going forward, but also allowing a one year window of time for past victims to press charges.
Davis and Lang's attorney, Gloria Allred, says there is no excuse for the NYS legislature to not pass this bill.
"I take a "no vote" or a failure to bring it to the floor for a vote as equal to a vote for sexual predators," says Allred.
While Markey's bill has passed the assembly in years past, it has never reached the Senate floor. She says the New York State Catholic Conference is a large opponent.
Dennis Poust, a spokesperson for the organization, says the church's opposition is not towards the statute of limitations increasing, rather, the one year window.
"Just the whole concept of going back 50, 60, 70 years and bringing old lawsuits against teachers, priests, whoever the accused is, and have the institutions try and defend themselves, is just contrary to justice."
But despite the controversial elements, Davis says he will not stop pushing for the bill's passage.
"As long as people want to talk about, I'm going to talk about it."
Assemblywoman Markey says she has two potential sponsors in the senate for the Child Victim's Act.
Markey says she will not take out the one year window, she says without it, it's a worthless piece of legislation.
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