'Child Victims Act,' When Signed By Gov. Cuomo, Will Extend Age To Pursue Charges From 23 To 50 For Civil, 28 For Criminal

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Democrats in Albany are flexing their political muscle again to pass long-stalled legislation.

Last week, it was lifting limits on abortion.

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This week, they are taking on the statute of limitations associated with the abuse of young people, CBS2’s Tony Aiello reported Monday.

From the Catholic Church to the Boy Scouts of America and elite prep schools such as Horace Mann in the Bronx, abuse of young people is an ugly scar on many institutions.

Now, New York victims are claiming a victory in their quest for justice.

A recent investigation into alleged sexual abuse at the Horace Mann School indicates the abuse was more widespread than previously reported. (Credit: CBS2)

Raul Diaz was abused by a Boy Scout leader 30 years ago.

“The abuse, over the years, it has affected my life. It has affected me in so many different ways,” Diaz said.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has said he will sign the Child Victims Act, extending the statute of limitations. Victims right now must sue or seek criminal charges by age 23. The new law will raise that to age 50 for civil cases and age 28 for criminal charges.

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“It wasn’t even in my head at 23. I pushed it so far back, just pushed it so far back,” Diaz said.

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The bill also establishes a one-year window where anyone would be permitted to bring a lawsuit even if — as in Diaz’s case — the statute of limitations had already expired.

“It’s a way to heal the wounds that are still there,” Diaz said.

“The justice system turned its back on victims in the state of New York, one of the worst states in the country. And today, that’s going to change,” said Marci Hamilton, CEO of Child USA.

Late last week the New York Catholic Conference dropped its opposition to the bill, after it was amended to make clear it didn’t apply only to private institutions, but also to public schools and governments.

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Over the last two years, a New York Archdiocese program has paid $60 million to 300 victims, all of whom agreed not to sue.