By New York Daily News Editors
May 16, 2016
As victims put faces, voices and tears to the campaign to extend or eliminate the statute of limitations for childhood sexual abuse, the true force behind opposition in Albany came to the fore: money.
Those who traveled to the capital to tell their stories did so in the hope that conveying the horror, agony and scarring of their experiences would be an enlightening impetus for legislative reforms.
Only one important player met personally with the survivors: After snubbing them to attend a pizza party of May 4, Republican Deputy Senate Majority Leader John DeFrancisco gave the victims an audience in full view of the press.
Although he remained opposed to changing the law, DeFrancisco had the courtesy to tell the supplicants no to their faces. Gov. Cuomo, Republican Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan and Democratic Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie relegated the victims to speaking with aides.
The reason why they keep their distance is clear:
Otherwise, the officials would be forced to say publicly they want to keep the courthouse doors closed to hundreds, if not thousands, of New Yorkers who have been denied redress for life-scarring criminal victimization because lawsuits could cost powerful parties large sums of money.
Among those are organizations that could be accused of enabling sex abuse in schools, such as Catholic dioceses and Jewish yeshivas.
In addition to eliminating criminal statutes of limitation on sex offenses, and giving future victims longer time to sue, proposed legislation would give past victims one year to file claims that are now time-barred.
Albany’s adamant silence is all about maintaining that financial shield without having to explain that, no matter how much suffering anyone has endured, they will be denied justice for legitimate wrongs because civil justice means paying compensation.