Bintel Blog

Sex Abuse Bill May be Headed for Vote Next Week

By Rebecca Dube

  • Print
  • Share Share

A newly amended bill to extend the statute of limitations for child sex abuse and to allow a one-year “window” for otherwise time-barred lawsuits may come up for a vote in the New York State Assembly as early as Monday or Tuesday according to one of its sponsors.

The controversial measure, opposed by the Catholic Church and some Orthodox Jewish organizations, is sponsored by Assemblywoman Margaret Markey (D-Queens) and Sen. Tom Duane (D-Manhattan).

“The bill has already been overwhelmingly adopted in three previous sessions and I am cautiously optimistic that we have the votes to pass it in the Assembly again next week and I look forward to its adoption by the Senate during this session,” Markey said in a news release today.

The proposal would add five years to the statute of limitations for civil and criminal claims of child sex abuse. The controversial part, though, is the one-year window: For one year, people who have already “aged out” of the statute of limitations could sue individuals and institutions over alleged molestation, even if it happened decades ago.

Proponents of the bill argue that opening the gates for lawsuits is the only way to expose – and stop – pedophiles who may still be preying on children. Opponents say it’s not right to allow lawsuits over abuse that happened so long ago.

The main argument against the bill, which is stalled in the Assembly, is that it would only apply to private institutions – because of the way the bill and the state law are written, Catholic schools and yeshivas could be sued for long-ago abuse, but public schools would be protected from lawsuits.

On Wednesday, June 3, Assemblywoman Markey agreed to amend the bill so that it would apply equally to public and private institutions. The amendment is aimed to win over lawmakers who were concerned about the fairness issue. But now it runs the risk of angering powerful groups such as municipal unions. So far, the teacher’s union has said it won’t fight the bill. The bill’s supporters hope it will get a vote in the Assembly early next week, before opposition has time to coalesce.

The amended bill also puts an age limit on who can sue during the “window” - only those who are 53 years old or younger when the bill passes will be eligible. This change is aimed at countering the notion, raised by some opponents, of people suing over abuse that took place literally 80 years ago.

“While I am absolutely committed to the right of every victim to have full access to justice for their claims, the adoption of this bill this year is a critical first step that we must take,” Markey said.

One Orthodox umbrella organization lobbying against the bill, Agudath Israel of America, said the amendments do not change its opposition. “Our objection was and remains the window provision [temporarily] lifting the statute of limitations,” Agudah spokesman Avi Shafran said today.


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: lawsuit, catholic, bill, Sex abuse, margaret markey, orthodox

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.


Comments
Sister Maureen Paul Turlish Sat. Jun 6, 2009

There will be no justice without accountability and this new amendment to the Markey/Duane will not help. I am ashamed of both the leadership of the institutional Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox Jewish Community. Credibility will never be restored to the RCC until adult victims of childhood sexual abuse receive justice and the RCC delivers on the ACCOUNTABILITY & TRANSPARENCY it promised in 2002.

Sister Maureen Paul Turlish Victims" Advocate New Castle, Delaware maureenpaulturlish@yahoo.com

DELAWARE, WHERE WE REMOVED ALL CRIMINAL AND CIVIL STATUTES OF LIMITATION REGARDING CHILDHOOD SEXUAL ABUSE & PROVIDED A TWO YEARS CIVIL WINDOW WHICH IS STILL OPEN UNTIL JULY 10, 2009.

IF YOU OR ANYONE YOU KNOW WAS EVER SEXUALLY ABUSED AS A CHILD IN DELAWARE - BY ANYONE - HE OR SHE HAS UNTIL THEN TO FILE A CIVIL SUIT.




Find us on Facebook!
  • The Jewish bachelorette has spoken.
  • "When it comes to Brenda Turtle, I ask you: What do you expect of a woman repressed all her life who suddenly finds herself free to explore? We can sit and pass judgment, especially when many of us just simply “got over” own sexual repression. But we are obliged to at least acknowledge that this problem is very, very real, and that complete gender segregation breeds sexual repression and unhealthy attitudes toward female sexuality."
  • "Everybody is proud of the resistance. No matter how many people, including myself, disapprove of or even hate Hamas and its ideology, every single person in Gaza is proud of the resistance." Part 2 of Walid Abuzaid's on-the-ground account of life in #Gaza:
  • After years in storage, Toronto’s iconic red-and-white "Sam the Record Man" sign, complete with spinning discs, will return to public view near its original downtown perch. The sign came to symbolize one of Canada’s most storied and successful Jewish family businesses.
  • Is $4,000 too much to ask for a non-member to be buried in a synagogue cemetery?
  • "Let’s not fall into the simplistic us/them dichotomy of 'we were just minding our business when they started firing rockets at us.' We were not just minding our business. We were building settlements, manning checkpoints, and filling jails." What do you think?
  • PHOTOS: 10,000 Israel supporters gathered for a solidarity rally near the United Nations in New York yesterday.
  • Step into the Iron Dome with Tuvia Tenenbom.
  • What do you think of Wonder Woman's new look?
  • "She said that Ruven Barkan, a Conservative rabbi, came into her classroom, closed the door and turned out the lights. He asked the class of fourth graders to lie on the floor and relax their bodies. Then, he asked them to pray for abused children." Read Paul Berger's compelling story about a #Savannah community in turmoil:
  • “Everything around me turns orange, then a second of silence, then a bomb goes off!" First installment of Walid Abuzaid’s account of the war in #Gaza:
  • Is boredom un-Jewish?
  • Let's face it: there's really only one Katz's Delicatessen.
  • "Dear Diaspora Jews, I’m sorry to break it to you, but you can’t have it both ways. You can’t insist that every Jew is intrinsically part of the Israeli state and that Jews are also intrinsically separate from, and therefore not responsible for, the actions of the Israeli state." Do you agree?
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.