The story that a Long Island foster parent allegedly got away with abusing children for two decades should make our blood boil. The question remains: Is Albany going to do anything about it?
Tragically, reports of child sexual abuse are familiar New York headlines. At the Horace Mann School in the Bronx, a recent report identified more than 60 former students abused by more than 22 employees since the 1960s. At Poly Prep Country Day School in Brooklyn, famed football coach Philip Foglietta was accused of abusing more than 10 students during his 40-year tenure.
In each case, the abuse tragically continued unabated for decades, in part because authorities don’t trust kids or regard them as reliable witnesses.
By the time many of these survivors came forward as adults to report the crimes, it was too late. New York’s antiquated statute of limitations robs them of their chance at justice. They have to file their cases by their 23rd birthday.
Such Draconian laws place New York State among the worst states in the nation for statutes of limitation. Justice cries out for us to fix this. Under the Child Victims Act, child sex abuse survivors would get just that.
This legislation I sponsor in the state Senate would eliminate the statute of limitations for civil actions for certain sex offenses committed against a minor. For survivors, the bill would also create a one-year “look back” period in which past claims could be revived.
In 2002, California passed legislation creating a similar one-year “look back” period for civil suits. As a result, more than 1,000 lawsuits were filed throughout the state providing justice and an immeasurable amount of closure for abuse survivors.
While the Assembly has passed versions of the Child Victims Act over the years, it remains stalled in the Senate.
Until every childhood sexual abuse victim has the opportunity to confront their abuser in court, the headlines will remind us that our business is unfinished.
Hoylman is a Democratic state senator representing large swaths of Manhattan.