State Kills ‘Look Back’ Action

The New York State Senate once again stalled a bill that would have lifted the statute of limitations to allow those who were victimized by sexual abusers in their youth to get their cases reopened.

The Childs Victim Act, passed by the Assembly, stalled in the Senate. A move to put funding into the coming fiscal year, which would have at least left a door open for the bill to pass muster, was also defeated.

“It was not included in the state budget. The Senate would not agree. There is still a chance it will be acted on outside of the budget during the remainder of the session before it ends in June,” said Assemblyman Fred Thiele.

Senate Republicans had successfully stalled the bill several times over the past decade. Senator Ken LaValle, a Republican who represents the East End, did not return several emails and phone calls requesting comment.

Under current law, the statute of limitations for felony sexual abuse crimes runs five years and begins at age 18. Proponents argue that those traumatized as youngsters by sexual abuse often become ashamed and are afraid to speak out until it is too late.

Archbishop Timothy Dolan made a surprise visit to Albany last month to lobby against the proposed law. He said it unfairly targets priests. He pointed out the church has established a compensation fund for victims who feel they have a claim against the church. A Suffolk Grand Jury report in 2003 concluded the church systematically discouraged victims from filing civil or criminal charges against the accused priests.

rmurphy@indyeastend.com