Catholic League president Bill Donohue comments on the New York State legislature’s latest extension of the Child Victims Act:
The Child Victims Act, which allows for a suspension of the statute of limitations for sexual crimes against minors in New York State, was passed last August by Albany legislators and was set to expire this August. The deadline was recently expanded for six months, citing delays in filing claims due to COVID-19; Gov. Cuomo signed the extension. Now Albany legislators have voted to extend the deadline another six months. The bill has been sent to Gov. Cuomo.
Lawmakers in Albany are not interested in helping minors who have been sexually abused in New York. If they were, they would demand that the principal victims—children molested by their mom’s live-in boyfriend or stepfather—be given special attention. But they are not. These abusers have no deep pockets, and the lawyers know it, which is why they have no interest in taking such cases. So injustice rules.
We know who the lawyers want to get: the Catholic Church. Perversely, it is the one institution that has made the greatest progress; there is almost no abuse going on these days. Many more students were abused in the public schools (it is still ongoing there) but there are many more hurdles to jump trying to win cases against them. There is not much passion for suing Jewish and Protestant schools; the same is true of private schools. That leaves the Boy Scouts.
Claims for alleged offenses dating back decades are hard to prove, so the temptation to settle is strong. Albany could do something about this by increasing penalties for frivolous lawsuits. New York City has the highest number of frivolous tort filings in the nation; it outdoes all states, save for California and Florida.
Gov. Cuomo needs to say “Enough is Enough.” The clock should not be moved forward one more minute.
Contact Cuomo’s director of communications, Dani Lever: firstname.lastname@example.org