State lawmakers voted overwhelmingly Wednesday to give victims of childhood sex abuse an extra year to file suit — more than twice the amount of time that Gov. Andrew Cuomo granted them earlier this month.
Legislation to extend provisions of the landmark Child Victims Act through Aug. 13, 2021, was approved by a vote of 60-0 in the state Senate and 135-9 in the Assembly.
“By passing this bill today, New York sends a clear and unambiguous message to survivors: we believe you, we support you, and we will continue fighting for you,” said state Sen. Brad Hoylman (D-Manhattan), who sponsored the Senate’s measure.
On May 8, Cuomo announced the issuance of an executive order that gave victims an extra five months — until Jan. 14 — to continue filing cases, citing the “reduction in court services” caused by the coronavirus crisis.
The CVA, which Cuomo signed into law last year, temporarily lifted the statute of limitations for bringing civil claims over alleged childhood sexual abuse.
About 1,700 suits have already been filed statewide against defendants including the estate of the notorious pedophile Jeffrey Epstein, the Catholic Church and the Boy Scouts of America, according to the state Office of Court Administration.
The Safe Horizon victim-services group urged Cuomo to sign the longer extension into law “without delay.”
“The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the ability of survivors of childhood sexual abuse to meet with their attorneys and gather evidence, and it’s vitally important that they have enough time to pursue their rights,” said Michael Polenberg, vice president of government affairs for the Manhattan-based nonprofit.
“This will ensure that New York remains a leader in protecting children and creating increased paths to justice for survivors.”
A Cuomo spokesman said the matter was “under review.”
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