New York State Assemblywoman Monica Wallace was joined by attorney Barry N. Covert and law professor Christine Bartholomew to introduce the Child Abuse Reporting Expansion (CARE) Act. The proposed law would require all members of the clergy, including Catholic Priests, to report child abuse in New York State.
Under New York State law, an extensive list of professionals are on a “mandatory reporters” list, which requires individuals in those professions to report any suspected cases of child abuse to the proper authorities. Clergy are not included on this list of mandatory reporters. In addition, New York State’s current law includes a “clergy privilege”, which exempts clergy from reporting anything they hear in the course of a confession.
The CARE Act would add clergy to the mandatory reporters list and allow the “clergy privilege” exemption to stay in place for all cases except in any matters involving child abuse.
As a follow-up to the Child Victims Act, the CARE at seeks to close loopholes that still exist in New York State law, which might protect abusers and keep victims of child abuse at risk.
Barry Covert represents survivors of childhood sexual abuse and has worked with state lawmakers on legislation related to sexual abuse.
Click the player below to hear details on the Child Victims Act including:
- How the Child Victims Act changes the statute of limitations for survivors of childhood sexual abuse to pursue justice against their abuser and institutions whose negligence allowed the abuse to occur
- Dates and deadlines for the Child Victim Act’s “Look-Back Window” provision, which is a 12 month period with essentially no statute of limitations
- The vast list of institutions where childhood sexual abuse has occurred
- The importance of validation and empowerment, which the Child Victims Act will provide to many sexual abuse victims for the first time in New York State
The Child Victims Act, which is a bill that will extend the statute of limitations to allow victims of childhood sexual abuse to seek justice against their abuser, is expected to pass both houses of New York State’s legislature on Monday.
Final details on all the provisions within the Child Victims Act will be available sometime after the state legislature’s vote. However, after Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced an agreement had been reached on the bill, Maryalice Demler of WGRZ Channel 2 interviewed attorney Barry Covert to discuss specific components that will be included in the Child Victims Act. Click the video below to watch the the full interview. Some of components discussed include:
Statute of Limitations for Childhood Sex Abuse Victims
Under the current statute of limitations in New York State, individuals who were the victim of a sex crime as a child only have until the age of 23 to pursue criminal charges or a civil claim against their abuser. When the Child Victims Act is signed in to law, survivors of childhood sexual abuse will have until the age of 28 to file criminal charges against their abuser and until the age of 55 to pursue a civil lawsuit.
One Year Look-Back Window for Survivors Past the Statute of Limitations
With the passage of the Child Victims Act, New York will become the 49th state in the country to extend the statute of limitations for victims of childhood sexual abuse. The Child Victims Act will include a one year “look-back window”, which will allow victims of any age to pursue a civil lawsuit against their abuser. This provision will give victims, including those who are beyond the ages stated in the statute of limitations, a one-year window to seek justice against their abuser.
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