New York State Catholic Conference, the official voice of the Catholic Church in the Empire State, has been busy hiring influential lobby firms in Albany, the State Capitol, to help block a bill that would make it easier for child sex abuse victims to seek justice.
Headed by Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the Catholic Conference has sought the services of influential and well placed players like Wilson Elser Moskowitz Edelman & Dicker, Patricia Lynch & Associates, Hank Sheinkopf, and Mark Behan Communications to aggressively lobby against the Child Victims Act and other measures.
State records show that the conference spent more than $2.1 million on lobbying from 2007 through the end of 2015. According to the Daily News the filings show the lobbyists were hired, in part, to work on the issues associated with “statute of limitations” and “timelines for commencing certain civil actions related to sex offenses.”
Advocates for child sex abuse survivors say that the $2.1 million will be money well spent if the Catholic Conference can continue to block legislation to eliminate the statute of limitations on child sex abuse civil cases and open a one-year window to bring lawsuits for victims who can no longer sue under current law.
Under current New York law the statutes of limitations for a young man or woman to pursue justice expires when they turn 23, which advocates for justice say gives them far too little time to come to terms with the consequences of being victimized as children.
Last week openly gay New York Senator. Brad Hoylman co-sponsored a bill to end the time limit for abuse victims to sue and for the state to bring criminal charges against child abusers, but the bill faces an uphill battle in the GOP-majority New York Senate.
The reforms are fiercely opposed by the Catholic Conference, who argue that opening a one-year window to revive old cases could ultimately bankrupt the Church.