NY Pass CVA
February 15, 2018
Contact: Becky Stern, 516 581 5707 and email@example.com
New York State Catholic Conference Blocks Access to Justice for Sex Abuse Survivors
Testifies at budget hearing on Child Victims Act, opposes look-back window for survivors
Today’s Quinnipiac poll finds that 90% of New Yorkers support the Child Victims Act
The New York State Catholic Conference just released its testimony from the Joint Legislative Hearing regarding the 2018-2019 Public Protection Budget, which addressed the Child Victims Act (CVA).
While the Conference supports a prospective extension of the criminal statute of limitations for survivors, it hypocritically continues to reject providing any avenue of relief for survivors over the age of 23 whose claims have expired, claiming:
This extraordinary provision would force institutions to defend alleged conduct decades ago about which they have no knowledge, and in which they had no role, potentially involving employees long retired, dead or infirm, based on information long lost, if it ever existed. To be clear, this provision would allow claims from even the 1940s or 1950s to be resurrected…..Statutes of limitation are an essential protection of American law because they ensure that claims can be fairly adjudicated in a timely manner based on credible evidence.”
Read the whole testimony here.
Seven states plus Guam have provided a look back window for survivors. California settled a majority of the 1,150 claims out of court, and the look back window in Hawaii was so successful at addressing past allegations that the state actually extended the window period.
At the same hearing, the Chief Administrative Judge, Lawrence K. Marks, confirmed the CVA would not be a burden on the courts, which is where all civil and criminal matters should actually be decided.
Survivors of childhood sex abuse and faith leaders responded to the Conference’s audacious claims:
The Catholic Church claims to have zero tolerance for sexual abuse, yet clearly lacks any understanding of how abusers operate and how victims process abuse. It takes time for survivors to come to terms with their trauma — most survivors do not disclose abuse until their forties. Why then does the Church remain staunchly opposed to a look back window for survivors? Our faiths teach us to be patient, compassionate and bring justice to those who suffer — not to be dismissive and intolerant. The Church continues to only protect themselves, their reputations, and their bank accounts over the souls of human beings whose lives were destroyed under their watch. They refuse to meet their own theological standards by confessing and paying for their sins,”
said Rev. Jennifer Crumpton, Femmevangelical / Faith Not Fear.
Why is there still any doubt that this is an organization that will put its own survival before the safety and well-being of those it exists to serve? No matter what rationalizations are used, including preserving the good works they do, there is no justification for forgiving or forgetting the harm they have done, and continue to do, willfully, deceitfully and heartlessly. The Catholic Church’s betrayal of everything they profess to stand for, in the guise of preserving those very same sacred principles, tells us everything we need to know. This must end and it must end this year. Anything less is a sacrilege,”
said Brian Toale, survivor who was abused at his Catholic high school, Chaminade.
The Catholic Church’s staunch opposition to the look back window clearly illustrates their desire to hide the depth of their cover up in crimes against humanity. The look back window, through due process, provides an opportunity for victims to shine some light on what the church has been hiding for so long. The burden of proof will be on us, the victims. I facilitate support groups for survivors of clerical sexual abuse. We are men and woman ages 40-70 and have all come to the understanding that the most import thing we can do is focus our efforts on protecting others from experiencing the life-long struggles we have endured. This includes having the church publicly release the names of all known abusers and their whereabouts. It amazes us that the Catholic Church continues to hide and wash their hands of abusers, to protect their image and money over the lives of victims in the path of the predators they hide behind the guise Canon Law,”
said Thomas Travers, survivor, who was abused by a Monsignor while serving as an altar boy in a local church in Buffalo.
The church’s position is wildly out of touch with the vast majority of New Yorkers, 90% of whom support the CVA according to a Quinnipiac College poll released today.
Governor Cuomo included the CVA in his proposed budget. The legislation would bring meaningful statute of limitations (SOL) reform for survivors of childhood sex abuse, allowing them to hold their abusers accountable in court. The bill has been introduced every year for 12 years, and last year passed the Assembly with overwhelming bi-partisan support.
Background: The CVA has been introduced every year for the past 12 years. In 2017, for the first time, it passed the State Assembly with bipartisan support by an overwhelming majority of 139 to 7. However, the legislation remains stifled in the Senate where Majority Leader John Flanagan has not even allowed the bill to come to the floor for a vote.
On January 2nd, 2018 survivors of child sex abuse, disability advocates, law enforcement, religious leaders, and elected officials, joined together with Manhattan DA Cy Vance to push for the CVA to be included in Cuomo’s 2018 budget. On January 16th, Governor Cuomo then included a version of the CVA in his budget proposal.
Tarana Burke, founder of the #MeToo movement, Manhattan DA Cy Vance, and the View co-host Sunny Hostin, are among the many supporters already backing the bill.
The CVA would do the following:
- Increase the criminal statute of limitations prospectively;
- Increase the civil statute of limitations prospectively;
- Remove special protections for public institutions that have acted as a shield against liability; and
- Create a one-year look-back window to allow survivors over the age of 23 to seek retrospective civil relief.