Supporters of the Child Victims Act are celebrating what they believe will be final passage of the bill meant to provide justice for victims of sexual abuse.
Gary Greenberg, the driving force behind the Child Victims Act, says New York State needs to eliminate the statute of limitations.
“There should be no statute of limitations on such a heinous crime as child sexual abuse,” he said during a press conference at the Legislative Office Building in Albany.
At 7, Gary survived sexual abuse at the hands of serial predator Louis VanWie.
The Child Victims Act failed repeatedly to pass in the Senate mostly due to a one-year “look back” which would allow victims to sue their abusers or organizations that protect them.
The biggest detractors of the bill have been the Catholic Church and the Hassidic Jewish community, which could be vulnerable to civil suits regarding sexual abuse claims.
Greenberg used his own money to form a political action committee to help vote out Republicans who stood in the bill’s way. In November, five seats were flipped from Republican to Democtatic in the Senate. He’s now confident that during the 2019 session the democratic majority will pass the bill.
“And the governor will sign the bill and we are going to have a Child Victims Act, hundred percent”, he said before a crowd of lawmakers and supporters.
Heath Bromley says he knows how important the bill is for children and adults. Due to the statute of limitations, his abuser Father Gary Mercure escaped justice in New York but not in Massachusetts where Mecure took boys on trips for the purpose of sexually assaulting them.
The former priest was convicted of the crimes in that state because Massachusetts does not have statute of limitations on sexual abuse crimes.
“We should be in that Senate right now passing this law, first. Right now,” Bromley said.
The bill that has passed only in the assembly currently reads that the statute of limitations would end at age 28. Greenberg is pushing for eliminating it all together.