New York State Lawmakers Have Passed the Child Victims Act

Male 1: PYX 106, Quinn and Cantara.

Quinn: It’s 1-800-LAW-1010, Paul Harding, Cantara, with Martin, Harding & Mazzotti on the horn.

Cantara: Hey Paul, how are you?

Paul: Hey, good morning, guys. Doing great, doing great.

Cantara: After years of debate, state lawmakers have finally passed the Child Victims Act. You want to explain that to us?

Paul: Yeah, it’s got about three moving parts. The one that’s probably first and foremost, most significant, is it opens up a one-year statute of limitations for any and all victims who were victimized as children and they now can bring a civil claim. So if you are 40 or 50 or 60 years old and something happened to you as a child, you’ve got one-year window, one-year statute of limitations to bring a civil claim against the individual or the institution.

Quinn: So it doesn’t matter what age I am now, if I’m 70 and I’ve been dealing with this my entire life, I have a year to make that claim. That’s great. That’s great.

Paul: You do, yeah.

Quinn: Love it.

Cantara: What happens after the one-year revival window?

Paul: So then it falls back to…they’ve increased this also, but now victims will have until age 55, moving forward, to do it civilly. And then probably also significant is that the criminal penalty statute of limitations, before it ended at 23. So something happened, you know, at 4, 5, 9, 10, 13 years old, you’d have until 23 to go press criminal charges because that can be a really super difficult thing for people to even want to, you know, articulate what happened to move to the next step, which is going to put them in the spotlight, but now that raises that criminally until the age of 28 to bring criminal charges.

Cantara: So my guess is is if you studied child victims that they don’t come out, or are not comfortable talking about it till much later. And like 23…

Quinn: Some like decades.

Cantara: …is still relatively young to open up about something like that.

Quinn: The guy on TV last night, I don’t know if you guys saw him, you know, he was abused as a child. I mean, I’m sorry, but he had to be close to 60.

Paul: And then the whole argument with statute of limitations is, you know, so at 28 is number, but as the years pass, recollections pass and, you know, facts and witnesses and maybe even exculpatory or witnesses that would, in some way, say, “Wait, it didn’t happen this way,” you know, everybody loses their ability to recall that clearly. They couldn’t keep it open, you know, they couldn’t say, “Well, criminal penalties are going to go on forever,” because again, to mount a defense against this, you don’t want to be going against 20 or 30 years of recollection.

Quinn: But I got to be honest. I mean there’re probably psychologists out there screaming at the radio right now, “Paul’s saying…” You’d be surprised at how much detail victims of sexual abuse remember for a very long time.

Cantara: Is this why it took so long for this to go into effect?

Paul: Well, you know, again, the debate was heavy and then we’ve got a situation now where the legislature, you know, we’ve got Democratic folks at each and every stage. Not that the Democrats or Republicans are…one’s good or one’s bad, but you’ve got this consistent group, so when there’s an idea that’s going to move forward, you’ve got a lot of people who can make it happen because they control all the chambers. So it’s been out there for a while. I know the really heavy debate was the ages of statute of limitations but they’ve arrived at this and I think it’s just such an awesome opportunity here for accountability. And again, I think you said it earlier, the folks who’ve gone through this, you know, that could be really empowering to be able to talk about it and be able to express it.

Cantara: Well, the Governor is expected to sign the bill into law in the coming days, so it’s all but done right here.

Paul: Right. [crosstalk 00:03:45]

Quinn: All right. Thank you, Paul.

Paul: All right, guys.

Cantara: Yeah, appreciate you that. Thanks for clearing us up with that.

Quinn: Thank you, Cantara. PYX 106, Paul Harding, Martin, Harding & Mazzotti. 1-800-LAW-1010,

Cantara: Stay warm Paul.

Paul: I will. You too.

Cantara: Thanks, pal.

Quinn: See you, pal.