60th District State Senate Candidate Amber Small is hoping Tuesday night’s rally in Niagara Square will be among the first steps to passing legislation aimed at holding perpetrators of child sex abuse accountable for their crimes.
Small was joined at the rally by representatives from Protect NY Kids, as well as victims and survivors of childhood sex abuse. She said the aim of the event was to begin a discussion about passing the Child Victims Act, which failed to be approved in the State Senate in previous years.
“Right now we have a very arcane statute of limitations on crimes against children in New York State,” said Small. “That means that roughly 90 percent of people who sexually abuse children never actually see a single day behind bars and are never held accountable for their crimes.”
Passage of the act would extend the statute of limitations for victims of childhood sexual abuse. Small said among the reasons the legislation has failed to pass the Senate is a strong opposition lobby by institutions with a stake in seeing childhood sex crimes not come to court. She points to the Catholic Church as one of the biggest groups opposed. She said it’s because the legislation would affect crimes against children that go back decades.
“If you change the statute of limitations, you’ll open up so many cold cases, so many old instances of children being abused, and that’s something that that entity does not want to have to face,” said Small.
As to whether there’s room to find common ground between organizations like the church and those in favor of the legislation, Small said, “When you talk about children who are victimized, they have to live with what happens to them for the rest of their lives. I see no compromise on doing the right thing here.”