Attorneys anticipate increased caseload if Child Victims Act passes

Local

Victims of childhood sexual abuse gathered outside the Senate Chamber Thursday and shared heartbreaking stories.

“When my older brother was finally caught with a 16-year-old boy in the back of his car, 25 years after he had sexually abused me, my voice was left unheard because the statute of limitations had long passed.”

Tom Andriola and other victims of childhood sexual abuse joined Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple in support of the Child Victims Act.

A version of the bill, which passed in the Assembly, would extend the statute of limitations in civil cases for victims up to age 50 and up to 28 years of age for criminal cases. It also includes a one-time only “Lookback” window for victims to sue their abuser in civil court.

The bill was killed several times in the once Republican controlled Senate, but the new Democratic majority is expected to pass. And Capital Region attorneys are anticipating an increased caseload.

“And we’ve heard from a lot of men and women whom we’ve had to turn away before,” says attorney Steve Coffey with Albany law firm O’Connell & Aronowitz. “They have a one-year lookback now, according to the present statute. If it passes people have a year to come forward on the civil side, and they have a chance to go after the people who committed these terrible acts.”

The Senate expects to vote on the bill within the next couple of weeks.

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