It shouldn’t take a philosopher to understand that the COVID-19 shutdown, instead of turning us into resentful mobs of isolated people, has made us more human.

Witness the state last week remembering that some life beyond the virus goes on by allowing childhood sex abuse victims to file time-barred lawsuits under the Child Victims Act for five more months.

The state will extend the Child Victims Act look-back window through Jan. 14. Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the Child Victims Act in February 2019 to allow survivors of childhood sexual abuse to seek justice and file a case with an expired statute of limitations, but only for one year. The window to file an expired or time-barred case was set to close Aug. 14, 2020.

The lockdown brought many facets of society to a standstill and the legal system is among the casualties.

“Because of the reduction in court services due to the virus, we are extending that window for an additional five months until Jan. 14 to ensure survivors have the access to the courts that they need to file a claim and get the long-overdue justice they deserve,” Cuomo said last week.

Gary Greenberg of New Baltimore, in Greene County, spearheaded the movement to pass the Child Victims Act in New York state. Greenberg, who is seeking the Democratic nomination to run for the seat in the 46th State Senate District, led the effort by forming the Fighting for Children PAC and ProtectNYKids Inc.

Last week’s extension is historic, Greenberg said.

“Victims will now have more time to file a claim and find an attorney,” he said. “I hope the Legislature takes action on creating a fund for victims who cannot file a claim in civil court and pass the Adult Victims Act.”

Greenberg’s suggestion that more has to be done is borne out by an increase in the number of child and domestic abuse incidents since the COVID-19 pandemic.

We must continue to pass laws that help victims and stop predators from committing heinous crimes against children. It is what makes us human.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1


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