WWW.QNS.COM RIDGEWOOD TIMES JANUARY 17, 2019 3
R’wood advocate grateful that Cuomo greenlights Child Victims Act
BY BILL PARRY
Governor Andrew Cuomo announced
on Jan. 11 that the Child
Victims Act will be included in
the 2019 Executive Budget.
The legislation ensures those who
abuse children are held accountable
criminally and civilly and that survivors
of childhood sexual abuse have a
patch to justice.
Cuomo advocated for passage of the
CVA last legislative session but Senate
Republicans refused to bring it to the
fl oor for a vote.
The CVA would provide necessary
relief to child victims of sexual abuse
by amending New York’s antiquated
laws to ensure that perpetrators are
held accountable for their actions, regardless
of when the crime occurred.
Under current law, child sexual abuse
off enses cannot be prosecuted aft er
fi ve years from their occurrence and
civil lawsuits for this conduct must be
brought within three years from the
victims 18th birthday.
Connie Altamirano needed a moment
to catch her breath when she
heard the news Friday afternoon.
The 45-year-old Ridgewood activist
has been fi ghting for the legislation
“Today, I feel a little hope but I still
have reservations because I’ve been
let down so many times before,” the
single mother of two, who is disabled
with PTSD, said.
The CVA would allow victims of
these crimes to commence a civil lawsuit
at any time before they reach 50
years of age and it provides victims
whose claims have been time-barred
a new opportunity for their day in
court by opening a one-year window
for them to commence their action to
revive old cases.
“While we appreciate the governor’s
support, we fully expect that the NYS
Legislature will pass the Child Victims
Act by Jan. 30,” Altamirano said.
“This bill needs to include the one year
look-back window and higher Statutes
of Limitations than 28, similar to the
states surrounding New York. The bill
should serve people with all sources of
abuse. The little girl that was abused
that’s inside me for the fi rst time now
Altamirano was repeatedly abused
and sexually assaulted by her grandmother’s
second husband at their
home on Himrod Street from the
time she was a toddler until age 9 and
threatened to hurt her mother if she
ever spoke up. She went public with
her story in 2014 on a mission to raise
awareness about the CVA and hold
politicians accountable for not passing
it year aft er year.
“I’m 45 years old now, and I still feel
like I’m being told I don’t matter,” Altamirano
The Assembly has passed the CVA in
the last two years only to see it blocked
by the Republican majority in the
Senate under pressure from the Catholic
Church. The Democrats re-took
control of the Senate this month aft er
winning big in the November election.
“We look forward to reviewing the
legislation,” NYS Catholic Conference
spokesman Dennis Poust said. “Our
hope is that a fi nal bill will be strengthened
by completely eliminating the
criminal statute of limitations and
closing notice of claim loopholes that
protect public school, so that all survivors
of childhood sexual abuse are
helped, not just some.”
File photo/RIDGEWOOD TIMES
Connie Altamirano (at right) with state Senator Joe Addabbo