'Lopez bill' one step closer to vote in state Assembly - Catholic Courier

‘Lopez bill’ one step closer to vote in state Assembly

On March 31, state Assemblyman Vito Lopez’s proposed bill (A5708a) on child sexual abuse was moved out of the Assembly’s Codes Committee by an 18-1 vote. After an aging period of three days, Lopez’s bill will be available to be voted upon by the full Assembly.

The bill — which is supported by the New York State Catholic Conference — would allow alleged victims of child sexual abuse up to age 25 to file civil lawsuits against public entities or private organizations in regard to the alleged abuse.

New York’s current statute of limitations requires alleged victims of child sexual abuse to file civil lawsuits by the time they are 23. But separate statutes for claims against public entities — such as municipalities, public schools, public hospitals and government-run institutions — require the alleged victims in cases of any nature to file statements of their intent to sue — called notices of claim — within 90 days of the incident.

Lopez’s bill is an alternative to Assemblywoman Margaret Markey’s proposed Child Victims Act of New York (A2596), which would allow alleged victims of child sexual abuse to file civil suits up to age 28. Markey’s legislation also would temporarily waive the state’s civil statute of limitations on child sexual-abuse lawsuits against individuals and private institutions, giving alleged victims a one-year "window" to lodge previously time-barred civil suits. The Markey bill — which does not make any provision to drop the notice-of-claim requirement for cases involving public entities –was moved out of the Codes Committee by an 11-8 vote in mid-March and also is available for a vote in the full Assembly.

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