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Wednesday, May 25, 2011


ALBANY, NEW YORK, May 24, 2011 --- Childhood sexual abuse costs New York State taxpayers more than $1 billion a year, some $230,000 for each new case. Those were the startling figures that Assemblywoman Margaret Markey reported as she convened a press conference to kick off a Lobby Day rally for her Child Victims Act of New York
“Researchers tell us that one in five children in America is a victim of childhood sexual abuse --- most of it at the hands of family members or acquaintances, or by other people they trust and respect,” said Assemblywoman Markey. “But since most victims of this abuse are not able to report what has happened to them until they are well into adulthood, we know that our current law is inadequate.”
The Assemblywoman said that existing New York law enables many predators to avoid the consequences of their immoral and illegal acts by “running out the clock” on their crime --- taking advantage of out-dated statute of limitations. The Child Victims Act will extend the civil and criminal statute of limitations for these crimes, giving victims a greater opportunity to have their day in court. It also means that New York can provide an opportunity for previous victims of child sexual abuse to get their day in court.
“I know this bill will also protect future generations of New York children from abuse by exposing pedophiles who have previously been hidden,” she said.
Assemblywoman Markey introduced  survivors of child sexual abuse who described how the state’s existing statute of limitations prevent them from getting justice in New York.  
  • Heath Bromley, a Glen Falls area man, and his attorney, Tina Weber, described how New York residents had to go to the Massachusetts to get justice. Crimes against Bromley were committed in New York, but because his perpetrator had also taken him to Massachusetts, a very different statute of limitations law there permitted a criminal case against his abuser to be brought in that state, resulting in a sentence of 20-25 years in jail for his crimes.
  • Michael DeSantis, an Albany-area man who went to the Albany Roman Catholic Diocese last fall with allegations against four priests, described the process of bringing his charges to the attention of church authorities, his only course of action since the statute of limitations has passed for the crimes against him. The priests have all been suspended.
Among others participating in the press conference were Robert Kristan who heads the New York Coalition to Protect Children, which organized the Lobby Day for the bill. Also taking part were:
 MARK MEYER APPEL, President of The Voice of Justice, who was joined by



  REV DR SHELDON E WILLIAMS REPRESENTING THE  NATIONAL BLACK ALLIANCE OF CHURCHES The assembly Codes Committee held a public hearing in New York City on the Child Victims Act and received oral and written testimony from more than a dozen criminal justice, academic and victim service experts.Mr. Appel gave a blistering attack on the few observant Jewish organizations that  are still dragging their feet in supporting the Markey bill, accusing them of being more concerned with unlikely remote fiscal concerns than with our precious children.  Mark Meyer Appel  called the priests and rabbis who oppose this bill as infidels and enablers of sex crimes on our precious children.
Rabbi Gershon Tannenbaum talked about the impact on the way the community has reacted to this bill by being more aggresive in the prosecution of  sexual crimes against our children and  the increased number of arrests and convictions  in new york state. Assemblywoman Markey said, “They spoke about the severe impact of childhood sexual abuse on victims and the reasons why many victims don’t ever come forward about what happened to them until well into adulthood, if ever. They also spoke about the high economic cost of childhood sexual abuse to government and society.”
Two of those who submitted testimony for the Assembly Codes Committee about the Child Victims Act spoke at the press conference today. They included Christine Deyss, Executive Director of Prevent Child Abuse New York, and Cardozo Law School Professor Marci Hamilton. A nationally-recognized author and expert on statute of limitations laws,
Hamilton said: “there are untold numbers of hidden child predators who are preying on one child after another because statutes of limitations have been configured to give them that opportunity.” Pointing out that 1 in 4 girls and 1 in five boys are sexually abused, she added, “There is an iceberg of silent victims in New York who are suffering and must shoulder the cost of therapy, addiction and other costs of abuse themselves.”
In reporting on her April 29 hearing, Assemblywoman Markey also cited several other significant findings that emerged:
  • Dr. Ted Miller, a leading health economist, estimated that child sexual abuse costs the taxpayers of the state of New York more than $1 billion a year. One single case of child sexual abuse costs $230,000; he said the bill is more than $400 per child in New York State.
  • Dr. Kenneth Peake of Mt. Sinai Adolescent Health Center in New York City called the issue of sexual abuse a global one with a very personal impact, and Professor Cynthia Mercado of John Jay College Psychology Department called the issue a public health epidemic.
  • Henry Miller, a distinguished attorney from White Plains and former chair of the New York State Bar Association spoke about his article in a recent issue of the Bar Association Journal where he asked whether or not a statute of limitations was a moral issue in the case of some crimes, like child sexual abuse. He said is it seems wrong for a known, identifiable perpetrator to benefit from an arbitrary legal cut-off for such a heinous crime as child abuse.
  • Studies of some 10,000 adolescents receiving routine medical care at Mt. Sinai Health Center showed that the age of a victim when first abused ranged from to 17 years, but that the average age of patients when first abused was 8.1 years old.
  • Another strong argument for a longer statute of limitations came from the Queens District Attorney’s Office. Eric Rosenbaum, Chief of the DNA Unit of the Special Victims Bureau, reported that when that office reviewed backlog DNA evidence that had been collected over 10 years beginning in the late 1980’s, they found 75 cases where a perpetrator was able to be identified, but who was not able to be prosecuted; many believed to be serial violatorsl Another 89 similar cases were identified in the Bronx and more than 600 were identified in Manhattan.
“We have become all-too-familiar with the horrendous personal impact of child sexual abuse on individual children and their families. Now, we also know that all of society is affected by child rape and sexual abuse,” added Assemblywoman Markey.

1 comment:

  1. wow..mayer..kol hakovod..to you and all of you who trekked to albany to appeal on behalf of the victims and the cause...