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Child Sex Abuse Reform Proposed in NY

Friday Feb 2nd, on Sex Crimes |

A Schenectady sex crime defense attorney can provide legal representation to defendants who have been accused of committing sexual offenses. If a new policy proposal to extend the timeline for prosecuting sex offenses proposed by Governor Cuomo's becomes law, it is possible that there will be many more people facing charges for sex crimes as Cuomo is proposing significantly lengthening the current time limit for child sex abuse victims to come forward.

For defendants who are accused of wrongdoing, it is important to be able to raise defenses. Unfortunately, if a very long time has passed since alleged misconduct has taken place, finding witnesses and recovering memories of past events can be difficult or impossible.  This is why Cuomo's proposed change to the policy on prosecuting sex offenders could have a big impact on the rights of the accused.

What Is Governor Cuomo Proposing to Change?

According to New York Daily News, the change to the current law proposed by the governor could add decades to the amount of time the state has to bring charges against a defendant for the sexual abuse of a child.

Under the current law, if someone is violated while they are under age, the alleged victim has until the age of 23 to bring a criminal complaint against the person accused of the sexual offense.  The alleged victim also has until the age of 21 to file a civil lawsuit against the alleged abuser.  These rules apply to the majority of sex crimes committed against people who are underaged, with a few limited exceptions such as for forcible rape which has no statute of limitations under the current law in New York.

Many victims’ advocates argue that this time limit is too short because it often takes a long time for victims to gather the courage to come forward and press charges against their abusers or otherwise take steps to hold the abusers accountable.

Governor Cuomo is now proposing eliminating the statute of limitations for each of the felony crimes that a defendant could be charged with involving minors. In addition to changing the rules for criminal prosecution, the governor wants to change civil laws as well to allow victims to sue their alleged abusers for up to 50 years after the abuse was committed. 

This could change New York's law from one of the most restrictive laws on how long victims have to come forward and make claims against their abusers to one of the most lenient laws. There would no longer be any limit on the amount of time that would pass before someone could raise an abuse allegation, and defendants might find themselves trying to litigate cases involving alleged conduct that happened half a century ago or longer.

If this change becomes law, it will be imperative to consult with a Schenectady sex crime defense attorney to get help fighting accusations of wrongdoing if you have been accused of abusive behavior. You should consult with an attorney for help as soon as possible so you can protect your future.

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