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Survivors of childhood sex abuse push back on Cuomo comments

STAFF REPORTS 


BROOKLYN -- In response to comments made on Tuesday by Gov. Andrew Cuomo concerning the proposed Child Victims Act, survivors of childhood sexual abuse who were abused in the Catholic church and the Catholic school system issued a statement today.

After Cuomo hedged his support of the act by stating, "obviously nobody wants to see a dioceses or the Catholic Church bankrupt, so how it is done is very important," the following statement was released by abusees and others.

"After more than a decade of opposition, survivors of childhood sexual abuse are finally on the verge of getting justice thanks to steadfast leadership in the Assembly and the incoming Democratic Senate majority. But for Governor Cuomo to suggest that children abused in the church would be responsible for bankrupting it is misguided and wrong. Surely he understands that a nonprofit can only voluntarily enter bankruptcy and would only do so if it systematically covered up rampant child rape. Moreover, statute of limitations reform in other states has been so successful that in some cases it's even been extended. Governor Cuomo should be more worried about the moral bankruptcy of his state than the church's ledger"
The statement is signed by:
  • Tom Travers, abused as a child in the Buffalo diocese by multiple priests
  • Brian Toale, abused as a child in multiple dioceses by lay faculty and clergy
  • Dr. Robert Hoatson, former priest, survivor, and founder of Road to Recovery Inc.
  • Catholic Whistleblowers
The Child Victims Act (CVA) would bring meaningful statute of limitations (SOL) reform for survivors of childhood sex abuse, allowing them to hold their abusers accountable in court. Currently the 5 year statute of limitations means that survivors of certain kinds of childhood abuse have only until the age of 23 to bring charges. The bill has been introduced every year for 13 years, and recently passed the NYS Assembly twice with bi-partisan support. The bill has been routinely opposed by Senate Republicans, the Catholic Church, and the Boy Scouts of America.

The CVA would do the following:
  • Increase the criminal statute of limitations prospectively;
  • Increase the civil statute of limitations prospectively;
  • Remove special protections for public institutions that have acted as a shield against liability; and
  • Create a one-year look-back window to allow survivors with expired claims to go to court.