Every year New York Assemblywoman Margaret Markey introduces her bill lifting the statute of limitations on childhood sexual abuse, and every year she loses. The word is out: she’s a phony. Her bills almost always give public school employees a pass (the doctrine of sovereign immunity means that public school victims have only 90 days to press charges). Her latest attempt—it is her seventh—is also a loser. Unlike previous years, this bill is being introduced at the end of the legislative year. Why? It’s rooted in vindictiveness.
Markey’s bill is her latest gift to the Catholic community: She is unhappy that an education tax credit bill, which is supported by most Catholics, Orthodox Jews, and minorities, might pass. It provides a tax credit that makes it easier for families, especially poor ones, to send their children to private or parochial schools. The enemies of the indigent, which include the teachers’ unions, want to deny the poor the same options that the affluent have. Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie is leading the campaign to deny school choice to poor Latinos and African Americans.
Catholic bashers have branded the Catholic community’s opposition to Markey’s bill as insensitive. It’s a lie. In 2009, after Markey took a beating in the press (led by the Catholic League) for not including public schools in her bill, she broke precedent and actually came clean. But her bill, which applied to both the public and private sectors, was knocked down because the public school establishment went insane. Yet no one called it insensitive.
If Markey’s bill were law today, a student in a Catholic school who was groped by a teacher in 1955 could sue, but a child who was raped in a public school as recently as last February could not. This is the kind of “justice” that Markey stands for.
Contact Markey: MarkeyM@assembly.state.ny.us