Assembly again passes Child Victims Act, all eyes on Senate

Legislative Gazette photo by Maria Enea
The Assembly passes the CVA 130-10. The CVA would amend the statute of limitations on childhood sexual abuse cases and give victims a one-year look back window to file cases regardless of when the abuse took place. Sponsor of Assembly bill, Linda Rosenthal, at podium, is now calling on the Senate to do the same. Earlier in the session, actor Corey Feldman, right, came to Albany to lobby lawmakers to pass the CVA, saying he and other childhood actors were abused early in their careers.

For the second consecutive year, the Assembly has passed the Child Victims Act and advocates will be making a strong push to get it to a senate floor vote before the end of session.

The legislation (A.5885-a) would amend the statute of limitations for criminal cases of childhood sexual abuse to begin when the victim turns 23. Victims would be able to file civil cases up to their 50th birthday. The CVA — which passed 130-10 on Tuesday — also provides a one-year look back window to revisit time-barred cases.

Cases brought to trial through the look back window would be given trial preference in court. The legislation would also require judges to undergo training on dealing with cases involving sexual abuse of a minor.

Arguments against the bill are that the look back window could clog the courts with false claims and bankrupt institutions that once employed or were affiliated with sexual abusers.

The Assembly sponsor of the bill, Linda Rosenthal, D-Manhattan, says the CVA would allow adult survivors to seek justice and to tell their story at an age where they are “emotionally able to articulate the horrors they endured.”

“Time’s up for child rapists and the institutions that harbored them or shuffled them among their ranks for decades,” Rosenthal said.

All eyes will once again be on the Senate. Sen. Brad Hoylman, D-Manhattan, sponsors the bill (S.6575) in that house.

“The ball is now in the court of the New York State Senate to bring ends together on the arc of moral justice.” Rosenthal said