Renewed push for Child Victims Act will target Larkin, Bonacic

Advocates for legislation to extend New York’s unusually short time limit for adults who were sexually abused as children to sue and seek criminal charges announced a renewed push to enact the stalled Child Victims Act in 2018 and listed senators John Bonacic and Bill Larkin among their upcoming campaign targets.

Senate Republican leaders have resisted the legislation and refused again last year to let their chamber vote on it. But advocates, energized by the recent surge in public awareness about sexual abuse and harassment, have formed a new organization called New Yorkers Against Hidden Predators and announced an advertising campaign aimed at 11 Republican senators in competitive districts in the Hudson Valley and on Long Island, including Larkin and Bonacic. The group also plans to hold press conferences and public events in the districts of those senators.

“We made substantial progress last year, but progress isn’t enough – we need to change the law in New York,” Kathryn Robb, a sex-abuse survivor and founding member of New Yorkers Against Hidden Predators, said in a press release on Thursday. “Legislators should expect to see a lot of us in the coming weeks. We intend to be at your ribbon cuttings, your offices, and your community events to let your constituents know where you stand on this bill. Your passivity will be noted.”

“New York and Roy Moore’s Alabama have the dubious honor of being the worst states in the nation when it comes to providing due process to sex abuse victims,” Steve Jimenez, another abuse survivor and founding member of the new group said. “It’s time that New York was no longer in the same category as Roy Moore.”

Under current law in New York, abuse victims must seek criminal charges or sue before they turn 23 — much too early, advocates say, for many traumatized abuse survivors to come forward. A bill that the Assembly passed in a 139-7 vote in June would give victims until age 28 to seek prosecution and until age 50 to sue culpable institutions. It also would have given previously time-barred victims one year to bring cases.

Both Larkin and Bonacic were noncommittal when the Times Herald-Record asked them for their positions on that bill in June.

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