For the first time, the state Senate has voted on the Child Victims Act, passing it unanimously. Governor Andrew Cuomo approves it, as he is expected to, the bill will greatly lengthen the statute of limitations for criminal and civil proceedings for a sexual offense against a child. That will allow the victims a chance to seek recourse as adults.
The Senate and Assembly passed the bill late Monday afternoon. The Assembly has passed the legislation during each session over several years. Advocates for child sexual abuse victims, as well as abuse survivors, fought hard for the legislation.
But the Catholic Church opposed a provision in the legislation that it fears could open the church up to a flood of civil lawsuits. In a March interview with the Buffalo News, New York Archbishop Cardinal Timothy Nolan said the church otherwise supports increasing the statute of limitations.
The legislation that was passed Monday includes the provision that the church opposed. It would create a one-year window in which survivors could refile civil lawsuits that had previously been blocked because they'd been filed too late.
Legislative leaders and Governor Andrew Cuomo had already reached agreement around the act prior to Monday's vote.