Gallivan introduces new version of Child Victim's Act

New version differs from one Tim Kennedy unveiled

Mike Baggerman
November 08, 2018 - 11:53 am

Senator Patrick Gallivan unveils new version of Child Victim's Act on Thursday in Buffalo. November 8, 2018 (WBEN Photo/Mike Baggerman)


BUFFALO, N.Y. (WBEN) - The Child Victim's Act is one of the top priorities for democrats in the New York State Legislature.

The act, which for years passed with ease through the New York State Assembly was but consistently shut down in the state senate, would extend the criminal statute of limitations for abuse victims under the age of 18 from 23 to 28 and allow those victims to file civil suits up to age 50. 

It would also create a one-year window allowing victims to file civil lawsuits for alleged abuse that's barred by the existing statute of limitations.

After Albany democrats overtook the senate in Tuesday's election, a clearer path was created for the Child Victim's Act to pass. 

State Senator Patrick Gallivan, a republican, introduced his own version of the bill on Thursday in Buffalo. His bill, called the "Child Victim's Protection & Accountability Act", is similar to the current bill introduced by Buffalo State Senator Tim Kennedy, a democrat, with some differences. Gallivan's bill does not include the look-back window, though it would eliminate the criminal statute of limitations, meaning criminal charges may be pressed at any time. 

"The second part of this proposed legislation adds members of the clergy as mandatory reporters," Gallivan said. 

A third part of the legislation allows "whistleblower protection" to non-public employees who report acts of abuse. 

Gallivan said he chose Thursday to announce the introduction of the bill because he did not want to be accused of playing politics ahead of the 2018 election. 

"I just thought it would get lost in the election," Gallivan explained. "So I waited until afterwards. Now that we can get this election baloney behind us, we can now look forward to trying to right wrongs and do better things for our community."

Gallivan rationalized that there should be the removal of the 12-month look-back window because of the attorney general's investigation into the Diocese of Buffalo. 

Diocese of Buffalo Bishop Richard Malone reportedly expressed his support for the bill. Gallivan said that the State Catholic Committee didn't outright support it but didn't raise any objections.

Robert Hoatson, an advocate for victims of clergy sex abuse, said democrats will likely limit the liability in that a person may sue an individual and not the corporate entity. He said that hopes democrats can pass finally pass the original bill.

New York State politicians return to Albany for the 2019 session in January. The official calendar is expected to be released later this month. 

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