POUGHKEEPSIE — Victims can file time-barred cases under the Child Victims Act for five additional months, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said Friday.
The state will extend the Child Victims Act look-back window an additional five months through Jan. 14. Gov. Cuomo signed the Child Victims Act in February 2019 to allow survivors of childhood sexual abuse to seek justice and file a case with expired statute of limitations, but only for one year. The window to file an expired or time-barred case was set to close Aug. 14, 2020.
“Many aspects of society have been closed down or are less operational during this pandemic, and the court system is among them,” Gov. Cuomo said during a briefing Friday afternoon at Marist College in Poughkeepsie. “Because of the reduction in court services due to the virus, we are extending that window for an additional five months until Jan. 14 to ensure survivors have the access to the courts that they need to file a claim and get the long-overdue justice they deserve.”
Gary Greenberg of New Baltimore spearheaded the movement to pass the Child Victims Act in New York, which gave child sexual abuse survivors a vehicle to file civil suits against their abusers. Mr. Greenberg, a candidate for the Democratic nomination for the 46th state Senate District seat, led the effort through forming the Fighting for Children PAC and ProtectNYKids Inc.
Friday’s extension is historic, the local activist said.
“Victims will now have more time to file a claim and find an attorney,” Mr. Greenberg said. “I hope the Legislature takes action on creating a fund for victims who cannot file a claim in civil court and pass the Adult Victims Act.”
Child and domestic abuse reports have increased since the COVID-19 pandemic, Mr. Greenberg said.
“We must continue to pass laws that help victims and stop predators from committing heinous crimes against our children,” he added.
Mr. Greenberg will face Michelle Hinchey of Saugerties, daughter of the late U.S. Rep. Maurice Hinchey, in the Democratic primary June 23 for the 46th Senate seat held by Republican George Amedore Jr.