By Larry Mcshane
New York Daily News
May 13, 2016
By Michael O’keeffe and Larry Mcshane
New York Daily News
May 20, 2016
Survivors of childhood sex abuse felt a rare emotion Thursday in their fight for legislation targeting predators: Hope, courtesy of Gov. Cuomo.
The governor listened intently during two hours of meetings with five abuse survivors and two victims’ advocates.
The Cuomo session stood in sharp contrast to the evasive state politicians reticent to back the proposed Child Victims Act before the current legislative session ends June 16.
The group included Safe Horizon VP of Government Affairs Michael Polenberg who initially sat with Cuomo’s general counsel Alphonso David and chief of staff Melissa De Rosa.
“I’m hopeful,” said Polenberg. “A lot of important information was shared, a lot of powerful stories were shared. He was with us for a long time.”
A day earlier, the governor said he would push to eliminate the statute of limitations entirely for criminal prosecution of child sex offenders.
And he hopes for legislation extending the current window for civil cases against adult abusers. Currently, victims have until age 23 to file for damages; Cuomo would like to extend that legal time frame.
The statute of limitations legislation was first introduced in 2006, but it has languished for a decade. Supporters of the Child Victims Act said it’s time for the state legislature to take action.
victims rights advocate Michael Polenberg, after a decade of disappointment, is optimistic this year.
The executive at the group Safe Horizon thinks there’s a good chance that the long-delayed Child Victims Act to change the state’s statute of limitations in child abuse cases could finally pass.
“I think there is a momentum that none of us have seen before,” said Polenberg, vice president for governmental affairs at Safe Horizon. “These are the most encouraging signs we’ve seen that the folks in Albany are taking this seriously.”