Survivors of child-sex abuse who have struggled to get legal representation to sue abusers and who lack money or assets are pushing the state Legislature to fix flaws in the Child Victims Act as lawmakers push to pass similar measures for adult survivors in the next two weeks. But an interesting and ironic twist has appeared in this story.
State child-sex abuse survivors are speaking out against the proposed Adult Victims Act and pushing the Legislature to amend and extend the Child Victims Act first.
“These cases aren’t moving forward,” said activist and attorney Gary Greenberg of New Baltimore, a driving force behind passage of the law. “Very few cases have been settled. I know none have gone to a jury yet. A lot of it was because of COVID, a lot of victims are getting notices from lawyers that they’re rescinding their payment agreements and that they only can proceed with the time to do the cases they feel will get them the most back monetarily.”
The deadline to file cases under the Child Victims Act is Aug. 14, 2021. The law’s supporters fear time will run out, leaving thousands of cases unresolved and compensation owed to victims unpaid. The state Office of Court Administration reports 5,641 lawsuits were filed under the Child Victims Act throughout the state’s 62 counties from August 2019 through last Friday.
The Child Victims Act was a singular achievement taking years to complete. There are too many cases stuck in limbo for lawmakers to turn their backs on it. Thousands of victims waited a long time — their entire lives — for their chance to find some kind of closure. Amending the Child Victims Act is about more than money. It’s about justice.