Statutes Of Limitations for child sexual abuse, often called SOL’s, aren’t something we think about every day, but protecting communities starts with identifying the abusers. Everyday we hear another story of a child who has grown up protecting a dark secret. Now an adult who has dug deep for the courage to disclose their childhood abuse. Another victim not getting their day in court. Another predator protected. More children exposed to sexual violence. The research shows child molesters don’t stop as they age. Experts agree nine out of ten child sex abusers are not on the registries. SOL’s protect them. Why?
One Victim’s Story
When I was 13 my father raped me. I didn’t call the police; that never occurred to me. I just wanted to live my life as though it never happened.
Six months later an uncle of mine who I had never met before started visiting regularly, and he sexually assaulted me at every visit. I didn’t call the police, I just kept hoping someone would protect me, would make it stop.
When I was 21 and had graduated from college and had an apartment of my own, I didn’t call the police. I saw no reason to; I was living a good life, and more than anything I wanted to have a safe, loving relationship with my family.
When I was 24, I learned my father had molested another little girl. I also learned there was nothing I could do to stop him. New York’s Statute of Limitations on child sexual abuse protects him from prosecution.
On average, it takes victims of child sexual abuse 23 years before they can talk about their abuse and even consider pressing charges. In New York, victims are barred from the courts on their 23rd birthday. Sex offenders get to say “I got away with it”, while their victims are harmed for life.
I know of at least four other victims of my father, and I’m sure that’s the tip of the iceberg. Telling the police “I know about someone who’s sexually abusing kids” doesn’t give them much to work with; they need a victim, and who is still very young, to come forward and press charges themselves. So far that hasn’t happened. So my father is still at large.
Abuse can never be undone. Abused children live shorter sicker lives and contribute less to society. Their minds souls and bodies forever scarred by betrayal and fear. Current systems keep most children alive, but kids deserve more. They deserve not to be abused at all.
After all an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
New York State protects rapists and molesters of children with statutes of limitations on their crimes. Isn’t it better to protect the children they rape? Shouldn’t we allow victims their day in court?
It takes 21 years for the average person to disclose child sexual abuse. New York’s laws cut children off from justice 5 years after their 18th birthday. This is why 9 out of 10 child rapists and molesters are never prosecuted, always protected, and not any sex abuse register.
Help protect New York’s children.
Protect children, not their rapists.
Various sources say that Cardinal Dolan and other New York bishops are spending a substantial amount—estimates range from $100,000 a year to well over $1m—on lobbying the state assembly to keep the current statute of limitations in place.
A grand jury report claims two Roman Catholic bishops helped cover up the sexual abuse of hundreds of children by over 50 religious leaders in Pennsylvania. Yet because of the statute of limitations, no charges are being filed. (AP March 1 2016)
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