Cuomo stands for justice for victims of child sexual abuse

By NY Daily News Editors
January 12, 2017

Gov. Cuomo is at long last pushing to fix indefensible state statutes of limitation that bar men and women abused as children from seeking justice after their 23rd birthday.

Thank you, governor, for hearing the cries of thousands of New Yorkers vilely taken advantage of, many of whose voices have filled the pages of the Daily News over the past year.

Those are people like Christopher Couret, 31, one of at least seven alleged victims who grew up in a Long Island foster home. And Antonio Flores, 51, who alleges abuse from the age of 10 by a Catholic priest never charged. And Kathryn Robb, 56, who alleges abuse by her brother at the age of 9.

All struggled for years with shame and guilt, only to be confronted with the fact that the legal clock to seek justice had run out.

Last year Cuomo, while expressing sympathy for victims, stopped short of getting behind a reform measure that had passed the state Assembly.

With welcome boldness, he now steps up with his own version of what’s come to be known as the Child Victims Act that would eliminate the time limits for legal action against those who commit sexual offenses committed against children.

On the civil side, Cuomo would allow victims up to 50 years to file claims against abusers and institutions that enabled or covered up abuse.

Crucially, the proposal also includes a one-year “look-back” window during which victims of past crimes, currently barred from bringing claims, would be allowed to go to court.

Cuomo would ensure that public- and private-sector institutions are treated the same — by preempting local laws, such as New York City’s, that give victims only 90 days after an incident is uncovered to file an intent to sue a government agency.

It’s the right thing to do and the right way to do it.

Republican leader Sen. John Flanagan has until now been comfortable turning a deaf ear to victims. Here’s hoping he has a harder time saying no to the governor.