Among the many sad lessons of recent years are the ones society has learned about sexual abuse and especially about the effects it has on children. It can take years for a young victim to come to terms with what happened, to understand that the abuser, not the victim is to blame. That realization often can take longer when the abuser is in a position of authority, someone who is likely to dispute any claims and very likely to have the resources to fight back.

Among the many sad lessons of recent years are the ones society has learned about sexual abuse and especially about the effects it has on children. It can take years for a young victim to come to terms with what happened, to understand that the abuser, not the victim is to blame. That realization often can take longer when the abuser is in a position of authority, someone who is likely to dispute any claims and very likely to have the resources to fight back.

In New York, one of those important resources that abusers enjoy is the law, among the most restrictive in the nation. Victims of child sexual abuse may bring either criminal charges or file a lawsuit only until they turn 23. Ohio and Pennsylvania allow victims to act until they turn 30. Massachusetts puts the age at 35.

A bill in Albany would make two changes for those victims, changes that would reduce, but not eliminate, the imbalance of power that starts with the abuse and continues in court.

First, it would recognize what we know about such cases and eliminate the statute of limitations on abuse cases going forward. While that would help future victims, it does nothing for those who were abused in the past and who now are too old to lodge complaints under state law.

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