Brendan Keany

Pressuring for adoption of Child Victims Act

Cuomo: "No one is above the law"

December 24, 2018 - 1:22 am

BUFFALO (WBEN) - In the latest call for Bishop Richard Malone's resignation, local advocates for victims of clergy abuse discussed the importance of the Child Victims Act and why there may be some light at the end of the tunnel as far as getting it passed.

"They can wait until the law in New York State is changed, and hopefully on January 9th, when the legislature returns for deliberations, so now that we have a Democratic senate, Democratic assembly and a Democratic governor, we may just get it this year," said Robert Hoatson, who runs the non-profit Road to Recovery, which helps abuse victims and their families. "That will give victims their day in court."

The Child Victim's Act aims to eliminate the statutes of limitation for prosecuting child sexual abuse crimes and filing civil lawsuits for damages against individuals, public institutions, and private institutions related to that abuse. 

Like Hoatson, Governor Andrew Cuomo is intent on seeing this legislation placed into action, and he said it's a main priority in New York for 2019.

"If you were abused by a member of the clergy or someone else, you deserve to have that acknowledged," said Cuomo. "That's what the Child Victims Act is about - it's about closure for people who were victims, acknowledgement as a society that this was a problem and we understand it, and we've addressed it and recognized it."

Cuomo added that religious organizations shouldn't have the ability to handle a matter such as sex abuse internally.

"A criminal act is not to be adjudicated by a religious organization," said Cuomo. "That's the basic point. No one is above the law."

Hear full audio from Cuomo below:

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