GOP candidate in SD 37 refutes robocall, vows to vote for CVA

Legislative Gazette file photo
Fighting for Children PAC founder, Gary Greenberg is urging voters from the 37th Senate District to vote for Shelley Mayer in the special election on April 24. Mayer, the Democratic candidate, was part of the vote that helped the Child Victims Act pass in the Assembly. Greenberg calls the 37th District race “a referendum on the Chid Victims Act.”

Despite a robo call that suggests otherwise, the Republican candidate in the 37th Senate District, Julie Killian, is adamant she will vote in favor of the Child Victims Act with a one-year “look-back” window allowing victims to file lawsuits for sexual assault crimes committed decades ago.

Killian is running for senator against Democrat Shelley Mayer in a special election on April 24 to fill the seat of George Latimer who is now the Westchester County Executive.  The district covers the communities of White Plains, New Rochelle, Harrison, Rye, Mamaroneck, North Castle and Bedford.

The robo call, which was activated last week, was recorded by Asher Lovy of ZA’A’KAH, an organization that visits Orthodox Jewish communities to help raise awareness about child sexual abuse.

The message states: “Because of Republican obstruction, thousands of hidden predators walk free and unidentified every year in New York leaving our children in danger. Now, these same Republicans are spending millions of dollars to elect Julie Killian to the state Senate.” Available to listen, below.

However, Killian’s spokeswoman Mollie Fullington says the robo call is a “lie.”

Fullington said Killian has already committed to vote in favor of the version for the Child Victims Act (S.809) that would eliminate the statutes of limitation for child sexual abuse crimes and create a one-year look-back window to allow victims one calendar year to file a lawsuit regardless of when the crime took place.

Supporters of the bill say the look-back window is vital to help victims receive justice. Opposition to the CVA — including many Republican legislators and the Catholic Church — see the look-back widow as potentially threatening to organizations who once employed offenders. In fact, Cardinal Timothy Dolan recently referred to the window as “toxic.” Those who are against the bill also believe that it will lead to a flood of false claims in the courts.

The Assembly version of the bill recently passed overwhelmingly. Mayer was one of the 139 votes in favor of the bill, while only seven Assembly members voted against it. Regardless of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s support for the CVA in his state of the state, the bill was not included as part of the 2018-2019 budget.

Last week, the Independent Democratic Conference, a group of Democratic senators who caucus with Republicans, rejoined mainline Democrats. Currently, the Senate is made up of 31 Republicans, 29 Democrats and Sen. Simcha Felder, a Democrat who conferences with Republicans.

Julie Killian

Fullington said it is disappointing to see Killian’s support for the CVA distorted by the “inaccurate” robo call. Further, Fullington said Killian’s “heart goes out to the victims” and that she is a staunch supporter of the CVA.

“Anyone who says otherwise is not telling the truth,” Fullington said.

When Cuomo announced that the 8-member Independent Democratic Conference would rejoin mainline Democrats, he said that a Democratic Majority in the Senate would be necessary to pass progressive legislation such as the CVA.

Greenberg agrees that Democratic unity and majority is a vital step toward passing the legislation.

“We cannot afford to send another Republican to the Senate to vote no against the Child Victims Act,” Greenberg said.

Shelley Mayer

Greenberg says the robo call is a good way to inform Senate District 37 that Mayer has been a supporter of the bill. He mainatains that the only way for the CVA to pass is if the Senate Majority is Democratic.

“For far too long, Republican leadership has failed to bring a vote to the CVA,” Greenberg said.

The robo call was released last Tuesday and Greenberg says approximately 600 calls are being made every hour. Greenberg is unsure what the final cost of the calls will be, but he said, “It’s important that the voice of victims and survivors be heard in this election.”