The Child Victims Act was introduced to the House of Representatives on March 12th, 2019. It would create a new way for victims to request that their cases be reviewed by the US Department of Justice and FBI. However, powerful interests are stalling this bill in Congress. Experts say that if it does not pass soon then these victims will have no recourse whatsoever when dealing with abusers online- which could lead to even more tragedies than there already are.,
The “child victims act settlements” is a law that tries to overcome powerful interests. The law was passed in order to give children the chance to have their day in court against their abusers, even if they are adults.
After more than a decade of stagnating in the New York State Legislature, a bill that would help give justice for child sexual assault victims is back on the table.
Victims and their allies are hoping that the Child Victims Act will be passed this year.
The Child Victims Act would extend New York’s harsh statute of limitations for sex abuse victims to sue their assailants in civil and criminal court. Some believe that this year will be the year the law finally passes, thanks to the #MeToo movement and increased awareness of sexual misconduct by men in positions of authority. However, despite widespread popular support, the bill has powerful opponents, including the Catholic Church, the Boy Scouts of America (BSA), and state lawmakers.
Our lawyers are keeping a careful eye on the Child Victims Act and are considering legal action against the Roman Catholic Church, the Jehovah’s Witnesses, and the Boy Scouts of America in situations where they may have failed to prevent child abuse. If you or a loved one has been mistreated by a member of one of these groups, please contact us to learn more about your legal options.
Act Would Give Victims More Time to File Lawsuits
The statute of limitations for child sexual assault victims in New York State is one of the most stringent in the country. According to the law, a victim must file a criminal or civil complaint against their accused assailant by the time they reach the age of 23.
The Child Victims Act would raise the civil statute of limitations to 50 years old and the criminal statute of limitations to 28 years old. It would also provide a one-year window in which past lawsuits may be presented, regardless of whether the statue of limitations had expired.
Extending the statute of limitations, according to victims and supporters, is critical since most child victims wait years to speak out about their abuse.
“Most victims do not tell authorities about their abuse until they are well into adulthood.”
“Our statute protects criminals by forcing victims to come forward by their 23rd birthday,” states Prevent Child Abuse New York. “Most victims are unable to report their abuse to authorities until they are well into adulthood and financially independent. 60-80% of individuals who were sexually molested as children do not come forward until they are adults.”
Longer statutes of limitations may also aid in the prevention of sexual offenses. In their lives, the average criminal molests 117 youngsters. Most children do not disclose abuse, but if victims are given more time as adults to pursue justice, they may be able to prevent a perpetrator from abusing future children.
Opponents with Influence Attempt to keep the act tucked away.
In 2006, the Child Victims Act was introduced for the first time. After twelve years, supporters are expecting that 2018 will be the year that the bill is finally passed.
The measure has the support of 83 percent of Democrats, 70 percent of Republicans, and 85 percent of Independents.
Last year, though, prospects were high until the bill was rejected by the New York State Senate. Governor Andrew Cuomo has put the law in the state budget proposal this year, which may enable it to sidestep Republican resistance in the Senate. By April 1, the budget must be approved.
“I don’t believe it would pass if done legislatively,” said Assemblyman Mike Miller, who sponsored the measure in 2017.
The Child Victims Act has a lot of public support. According to a recent survey, the proposal is supported by 83 percent of Democrats, 70 percent of Republicans, and 85 percent of Independents. Support is also solid in the Assembly, where the bill was approved by a vote of 139 to 7 last year. However, Republican resistance in the Senate continues to be a stumbling block.
Senator John Bonacic, a Republican, opposes the bill because of the 365-day retroactive period. “The one-year timeframe in which any victim of alleged sexual assault may file a civil case is tough to cope with.” In a statement, Bonacic said, “We feel it would create an evidential nightmare for the integrity of the court system, enabling someone to seek reparations 30, 40, or 50 years afterwards.”
Bill was killed for $2 million by the church.
The Catholic Church, which spent $2.1 million from 2007 to 2015 lobbying against the Child Victims Act, is concerned about the bill’s “look-back window.”
“You may go back sixty or seventy years,” Dennis Poust, communications director for the New York State Catholic Conference, told the Village Voice, “and the capacity to refute charges from so long ago is extremely difficult.” In terms of monetary damages, there are no limits. We believe it will make it more difficult to deliver services to people today.”
According to Poust, the Catholic Church is New York’s biggest non-governmental supplier of human services. Many of New York’s dioceses have also formed reconciliation and compensation programs for survivors, he says. The Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program (IRCP) of the Archdiocese of New York, which served as a model for similar survivor programs, is now closed. Others, such as the IRCP of the Diocese of Syracuse, are still under progress.
The compensation offers come with a catch: applicants must agree not to sue the Church.
The compensation payments, however, come with a catch: claimants agree not to sue the Church, while the perpetrators stay nameless and suffer no legal penalties. Critics argue the compensation fund is a smart move to pay with victims before the Child Victims Act passes, which would allow them to sue the church.
In December 2017, the archdiocese revealed that it has paid $40 million to 189 survivors of the survivor fund via a loan. The church had applied for a $100 million mortgage on archdiocese-owned property on Madison Avenue earlier that year.
Supporters of the Child Victims Act find the church’s warnings about impending insolvency lacking in credibility—and compassion. Marci Hamilton of the advocacy organization Child USA has worked in every state that has implemented a look-back period. Because the services are extensively supported by the government, she labels the insolvency argument “cynical” and the loss of services argument “an open falsehood.”
The bill’s major proponent in the state senate, Brad Hoylman, points out that a similar measure passed in California and hasn’t resulted in “huge bankruptcies by institutions.” Hoylman also questions if financial concerns should take precedence over moral issues.
“I don’t feel sorry for the money balances of organizations that may have housed predators,” Hoylman added.
Despite the fact that claims of sexual assault have cost the Catholic Church members, money, and the moral high ground, it remains a potent force in state politics, one that no elected politician wants as an adversary.
The BSA is fighting to keep pedophiles’ identities hidden.
The Catholic Church has been rather forthright in its opposition to the Child Victims Act. The church also submitted a formal document against the measure last year, in addition to its public remarks.
Other opponents, such as the Boy Scouts of America, have worked behind the scenes to defeat the Child Victims Act.
To defeat the Child Victims Act, the Boy Scouts hired a lobbying company $12,500 per month.
According to the New York Daily News, the Boy Scouts paid $12,500 per month to lobbying firm Denton US to oppose laws such as the Child Victims Act. Craig Johnson, a former New York senator and Denton principal, has registered to represent the Boy Scouts in Albany, according to the Daily News.
Johnson was engaged to work on “a number of legislative problems in New York that effect youth-serving groups,” according to a Denton representative.
The Boy Scouts have sought to keep the identity of alleged pedophiliac scoutmasters hidden. The “perversion files” were released in 2012 after a 2010 lawsuit involving a former scout who was harmed by his scoutmaster. Between 1965 and 1984, there were hundreds of BSA files relating to allegations of Scout molestation or sexual assault.
While the BSA claims that the data were used to prevent known pedophiles from rejoining the Boy Scouts after being banned, a Los Angeles Times investigation found that at least 50 suspected abusers reentered the organization and were accused of abusing again.
The BSA resolved a child abuse lawsuit filed by a former Scout in 2015, preventing the publication of more “perversion files” from 1991 to 2007. The group claims it has campaigned to keep the information secret in order to safeguard the names of victims, witnesses, and anybody wrongfully accused of abuse. “Scouts are safer because the barrier formed by these files is genuine,” the organisation claims.
However, the BSA’s lack of openness, as well as its attempts to repeal the Child Victims Act, reveal its interests.
“An organization like the Boy Scouts should be more concerned with safeguarding young children from sexual assault than resisting laws that protects children and exposes sexual offenders,” said Kathryn Robb, an abuse victim. “After all, if they name themselves a ‘values-based youth development organization,’ you’d think they care about children’s safety, truth, and justice!”
The identity of accused child abusers have also been shielded by the Jehovah’s Witness church. The Jehovah’s Witnesses’ parent company, the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York, has been fined millions of dollars in penalties and convictions for neglecting to give over data including thousands of names of accused child abusers.
Victims are suing the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society and the Jehovah’s Witnesses for allegedly neglecting to prevent child sexual abuse.
Abuse Victims’ Confidential Consultations
Because the passing of the Child Victims Act would provide victims of child sex abuse a one-year window to file a claim if the bill becomes law, it is critical that victims contact our lawyers right away to file a claim.
Please contact us for a free, private consultation to explore a possible abuse case against the Catholic Religion, the Boy Scouts of America, or the Jehovah’s Witness church.
The “child victims act cases” is a law that was passed in the United States to try and overcome powerful interests.
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