Child Victims Act advocacy group backs Skoufis for Senate

One of the groups that has pushed in vain for Senate Republicans to support the long-stalled Child Victims Act endorsed Democratic assemblyman and Senate candidate James Skoufis on Monday in his bid to win the seat that Republican Sen. Bill Larkin is vacating.

Gary Greenberg, founder of Protect NYKIDS and the affiliated Fighting for Children PAC, had broken ranks with other survivors of childhood sexual abuse and their advocates by supporting an alternative bill that Senate Republicans introduced this year, one that would have created a state fund to pay abuse victims instead of letting them sue institutions like the Boy Scouts and Catholic Church. But Greenberg faulted the majority party for its inaction in his endorsement of Skoufis, and said in an accompanying email that Skoufis will be the top priority of his PAC, which gave about $100,000 to Senate candidates in 2016.

“We need new leaders like James in the State Senate,” Greenberg said.

The 2018 legislative session ended last month with the Senate not voting on either the Child Victims Act, which the Assembly had passed in a 130-10 vote, or the Republican counter-proposal. Skoufis, who voted for the Child Victims Act, said in a statement on Monday, “The Senate Majority has refused to take up this important legislation and instead continues to protect predators by their inaction and political games. As State Senator, I will support the strongest legislation possible that holds child sex abusers accountable while delivering justice for all survivors.”

Two Republicans – Stony Point Councilman Tom Basile and Orange County Legislator Mike Anagnostakis of the Town of Newburgh – are competing to run for the 39th Senate District. Basile, the party’s endorsed candidate, has supported the Republicans’ proposed compensation fund and accused Democrats of opposing it to prolong the issue “for purely political reasons.” Anagnostakis backs the Child Victims Act and calls the GOP alternative a political gift for the insurance industry and religious groups.

Greenberg said in Monday’s release that Basile “is being backed by these same politicians who have repeatedly failed to act.

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