March 14, 2018

Assembly Budget Proposal Includes Child Victims Act

Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal today announced that the Assembly's SFY 2018-19 Budget proposal includes a measure to extend statutes of limitations for criminal and civil cases involving sexual abuse of children, allowing victims to seek legal recourse as adults.

"The Assembly has previously passed this important legislation to empower adult New Yorkers who were victims of sexual abuse as children to seek closure for the crimes that were committed against them," said Heastie. "It serves the interests of justice when aggrieved individuals are able to confront those who have caused them physical, emotional or psychological harm in a court of law."

"When one in five children in the United States will fall victim to sexual predation, we must take action to protect them and ensure access to justice for survivors," said Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal. "Each passing day that these brave individuals are unable to confront those who have caused them so much harm, only serves to compound and continue their pain. Once again, the Assembly is taking the right steps to change this unfair and outdated law so those who prey on the most vulnerable among us can be called to answer for their crimes."

The Assembly bill would amend the criminal procedure law by adding five additional years for criminal charges to be brought - starting the clock at age 23, rather than at age 18 - as well as pushing back the statute of limitations to permit civil actions to be brought up until the victim's 50th birthday.

The measure also creates a one-year window for past sexual abuse victims to commence a civil action. The U.S. Department of Justice has reported that only 10 percent of sexual offenders are exposed. The one-year window in the Assembly legislation would permit courts to consider claims by victims which were previously dismissed or were not brought at all due to the limitations previously contained in the law. This look-back window would take effect six months after the bill is signed into law.

The Assembly's proposal would also: