NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) – Women who were sexually assaulted by former sports doctor Larry Nassar joined Gov. Andrew Cuomo for his signing into law of the Child Victims Act.
The new law extends the statute of limitations in child sex abuse cases, giving victims until the age of 28 to seek criminal charges instead of age 23. They can also sue for damages until age 55.
It also creates a one-year litigation window for victims to file lawsuits.
The legislation was blocked for the past decade by Republicans who controlled the state Senate. Democrats took control of the chamber in the November elections, and the Senate and Democrat-controlled Assembly approved the legislation Jan. 28.
The paper published more than 200 stories on the issue along with numerous editorials in favor of the legislation’s passage.
Cuomo hailed the victims who went public with their stories of being sexually abused and trekked to Albany year after year to advocate for the measure’s passage.
“They sacrificed their personal privacy so others wouldn’t have to endure the same pain,” Cuomo said.
Sarah Klein, a former Olympic gymnast who was one of the first known sexual abuse victims of former national team doctor Larry Nassar, was among the audience for the bill signing ceremony.
“It’s an incredible day for all survivors to gain access to justice,” she said afterward.
The one-year litigation window for past claims that was barred by the statute of limitations had been the sticking point to getting the legislation approved. Major institutions such as the Catholic Church argued against it, warning that it could cause catastrophic financial harm to any organization that cares for children.
The church dropped its opposition to the legislation last month, however, when the act was revised to treat public and private schools and entities the same.
(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)