ALBANY, N.Y. — The leader of the New York state Senate says his chamber will not vote this year on a measure loosening the statute of limitations for molestation.
Republican Senate Leader John Flanagan of Long Island announced his decision to reporters on Tuesday without explanation.
The proposal would have given victims more time to file civil lawsuits or seek criminal charges against their abusers. It also would have created a one-year window for past victims to file civil suits.
Victims now have until they turn 23 to sue, but supporters say it often takes far longer for victims to report their abuse. FBI stats show it takes at least 30 years.
The bill was supported by the Assembly and Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo but faced strong opposition from the Catholic Church and other organizations.
Activists and licensed professionals that deal with abuse issues praised Gov. Cuomo for standing behind victims of abuse and blasted republicans for basically telling victims of abuse to go to hell.
Michael Polenberg, of Safe Horizon, who works with victims, called the decision to kill the bill “a perversion of justice to shackle thousands of children with a 5-year statute of limitations in exchange for a lifetime of protection from prosecution for their abusers.”
Another survivor, Kathryn Robb, who had worked closely this year on the issue with the Cuomo administration, called the Senate decision “profoundly disappointing.”
“I really hoped the senators could do the right thing and trust their internal gut about what’s the right and just and fair thing to do,” Robb said.
Andrew Willis, a survivor and founder of the Stop Abuse Campaign, called it “unbelievable the Republican Senate would stand in the way of protecting 43,000 New York children a year.”
Survivors of abuse, who hoped after more than a decade of fighting that this was the year, were left hurt and angry at Flanagan.
Activists are threatening to spend millions of dollars election time to get rid of Flanagan.
Lawmakers will end their session Wednesday evening.
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