Coalition of Jewish Advocates Unite In Supporting “The Child Victims Act”

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A coalition of more than 130 Jewish leaders now back the Child Victims Act which would eliminate the statute of limitation in New York — allowing countless child sex abuse victims to seek justice as adults.
Rabbi Ari Hart, Mark Meyer Appel, Manny Waks, and Assemblywoman Margaret Markey.
Rabbi Ari Hart, Mark Meyer Appel, Manny Waks, and Assemblywoman Margaret Markey.

The strong united show of support on lobby day was held in Albany on May 3 and 4  by advocates of the bill  a two-day lobbying effort in Albany to win passage of the long-languishing legislation.

“After decades of denial, cover ups and darkness across New York State, light is finally being shone on the scourge of child sexual abuse,” read the petition signed by scores of high-profile leaders.

Among those signing the petition were close to 100 rabbis and advocates including  Jewish Community Watch,Kol v”oz,The Voice of Justice,Mageinu,United support network,Jewish Board of Advocates,The Bridge Project

Manny Waks, Professor Marci Hamilton and Chaim Levin
Manny Waks, Professor Marci Hamilton and Chaim Levin

“We need to demonstrate that some large groups who oppose this bill don’t speak for everyone,” said Chaim Levin, 26, of the group Kol Voz — a new global organization attempting to combat abuse in Jewish communities and who  was instrumental in this new push to get  Hundreds of rabbis and advocates to join this initiative

We are embarrassed that New York State ranks among the very worst in the US,  on how the courts and criminal justice system treat survivors of child sex abuse. It is time for some religious leaders to stop playing games and get on board with the Child Victims Act,” said longtime bill advocate Mark Meyer Appel.

The Markey Bill, sponsored by Assemblywoman Margaret Markey (D-Queens) seeks to eliminate time limits in criminal and civil cases of child sexual abuse.

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New York’s archaic statute of limitations sharply limits the time victims have to bring charges against a molester. A victim must come forward within five years after the age of 18 to bring criminal or civil charges against their abuser or any agency or organization that should have reported the crime.

Given the emotional and psychological devastation that victims of child sexual abuse endure they are often slow to come to grips with their past. Some are unable to do so until middle age or even later in life but certainly not before the age of 23. Furthermore, in our religious communities, by limiting the right to sue and prosecute to the age of 23 has created a  situation where victims of abuse may have lost a chance for closure to come forward with charges regarding the abuse suffered.