Will Latest Clergy Sex Abuse Scandal Finally Force A Vote On New York’s Child Victims Act?

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BUFFALO, NY (WBFO) – In light of recent news involving alleged sexual abuse and how Catholic Church leaders have managed it over many years, calls are being renewed to pass the Child Victims Act in New York State. A State Senator who strongly supports the bill says the votes are there but the current leadership in that house won’t bring it up for a vote.

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New York State Capitol in Albany

The Child Victims Act would ease current statutes of limitation that currently give victims until the age of 23 to sue for justice in childhood incidents. It has stalled in the State Senate for a dozen years.

State Senator Tim Kennedy, a Buffalo Democrat, says there is overwhelming bipartisan support to get it passed.

Although the Democrats hold a razor-thin majority in the Senate, Republicans continue to hold leadership thanks to a political alliance involving a lone Democrat, Senator Simcha Felder, who has caucused with the GOP.

“Both Democrats and Republicans want to see the Child Victims Act passed. But the Republican leadership in Albany has failed to bring it to the floor because they’re more in touch with the lobbyists than they are with the people of the State of New York,” Kennedy said.

The way to finally bring a vote, he added, is for his party to regain control of the State Senate. Kennedy expects bringing the bill up for vote would be among their first orders of business if they were to control the Senate when the new legislative session starts in early 2019.

He did not directly answer questions by WBFO as to whether he supported the resignation of Bishop Richard Malone – which several other lawmakers, a local deacon and Catholic radio station urged last Friday – or whether he supported direct involvement by the Erie County District Attorney. Kennedy pointed out, though, that the problem of child abuse spans generations and numerous institutions.

“This is a societal problem that needs to be dealt with,” he said. “Whether we’re talking about churches, schools, synagogues, Boy Scouts of America or anywhere else in society, child abuse is a despicable crime and those abusers need to be brought to justice.”

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