Target: New York Governor Andrew Cuomo
Goal: Don’t allow the Catholic Church to stand in the way of legislation meant to protect victims of child sexual abuse.
The Catholic Church is currently standing in the way of legislation that would allow victims of child sexual abuse an extra five years to file civil suits against their abusers. Afraid that they would face millions of dollars of liability in suits filed against them, the Church is sending bishops and lobbyists to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s office en mass to try and sway his opinion. In an attempt to save their skin, Catholic bishops have spent untold dollars in recent years trying to prove that these laws are meant only to bankrupt the Church and will not actually provide solace for the victims.
Currently, children who have suffered sexual abuse have a five-year window after their eighteenth birthday to press charges; many states, including nearby Pennsylvania and Delaware have expanded that window to ten years. Setting the age limit to file these charges at 23 seriously limits the number of abused children who come forward, as many need a great deal of time to come to terms with the traumatic events they have suffered. While many laws have attempted to extend this statute of limitations, any bills put through New York State Legislature have been shot down year after year, due mostly to the strong influence of Catholic bishops in the area.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s leadership will be needed if this law is to be passed through the state legislature. It is time that the government and people of New York stop the Catholic Church from silencing its victims. Sign this petition and urge New York State to increase the time frame to press charges on child abusers to 28 years old.
To Governor Andrew Cuomo,
If one were to say that all victims of child abuse deserved the chance to face their abusers in court, almost all people would agree. The Catholic Church, however, would not. Year after year, bills are proposed in the New York State Legislature that would allow victims of child abuse a ten-year window to come forward and file suit, and year after year these bills are shot down, in large part due to Church lobbyists. The reason that the Catholic Church opposes these bills, in fact, is that they fear that their involvement with the cover up and protection of sexually abusive priests was so strong that cases filed against them could possibly bankrupt the Church. By listening to these lobbyists, the government of New York is also standing in way of justice for abuse victims.
All child abusers, including those inside the Roman Catholic Church, need to be held accountable for their crimes. We urge that you increase the statute of limitations on pressing charges against abusers to 28 years old, and allow victims of sexual abuse to seek the justice they deserve.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: N Dave Johnson via Flickr