Child sex abuse victims cannot wait any longer
By Shaun Dougherty
With less than two months left in the legislative session, it looks like once again lawmakers will leave survivors of child sex abuse behind and fail to pass meaningful reforms to our statute of limitation laws. All New Yorkers, not just survivors like myself, should be disappointed that Senate Republicans choose to hide behind legislative procedures and avoid a vote on the Child Victims Act, instead of committing to helping victims.
New York’s statute of limitations for child sexual abuse crimes are the most restrictive in the country. Survivors have only five years after they reach legal age to file criminal or civil charges against their abusers. I know first-hand how inadequate this amount of time is; it took me a decade to share my story of clergy abuse with my family and more than 30 years to speak publicly about it.
My abuse occurred in 1980 in Johnstown, Pa., by Father George Koharchik, who was my teacher and coach. He was also a trusted friend of the family who had a weekly bowling game with my parents. His betrayal led me down a road of depression, drug addiction and attempted suicide. It made learning difficult and relationships hard.
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