When the Child Victims Act is signed into law by Governor Andrew Cuomo, the burden of proof will lay heavily on both sides of any civil court case.
The bill, which passed unanimously in the Senate allows plaintiffs, up to age 55, to bring forth civil cases against a past abuser, including public or private institutions.
“This could be 40 years ago and this brings in other problems. Proof problems for both of them,” says high profile Albany attorney Steve Coffey.
Coffey says bringing forth evidence of sexual abuse, possibly decades later, posses serious challenges.
“Think of the guards in the Nazi prison camps. Forty years later someone comes forward and says that person was one of the guards at Auschwitz or Dachau and you’ve got to try and prove that 40 years later. Think of it. But if you have letters or videos. Where they traveled together.”
He says those things would help strengthen a case.
Heath Bromley, a survivor of a childhood sexual abuse, says the bill should be seen as the first step in ultimately eliminating the statute of limitations altogether.
“That’s what really needs to happen. No age limit. All statutes of limitation- criminal and civil,” he says.