Child Sex Abuse Statute Of Limitations Slow To Change In Senate
The Bernie Fine scandal has not only tarnished the reputation of Syracuse University, but it has also forced politicos like State Assemblywoman Margaret Markey to beat the drum louder. "I call it society's dirty little secret, because no one wants to come to grips with it."

Markey has proposed legislation calling for a window to be created so that victims like those in the Fine case can step forward years after the statute of limitations has expired. "The bottom line is the window gives the victim the opportunity to go to trial and it's up to a judge and jury to make a final decision, they have to prove their case," said Markey.

One of those looking to do just that is Michael Dowd. The Manhattan attorney currently has more than 300 clients ranging from teenagers to those in their seventies who claim that they are the victims of child sexual abuse. According to Dowd, a large percentage of those clients need a window to fight back through a civil suit, "The window in legislation has to be open because it is incredibly difficult for young people who have been sexually abused to talk about it often for 10, 15, 20 years after it happened to them."

The fight to extend the statute of limitations and create a window has been going on for years in Albany and it's been an intense battle, yet on every occasion it's been knocked. Dowd is adamant this one group is solely responsible for this, "The Catholic church is killing it. The Catholic church has spread money around to the legislature, the lobbyists to do everything in their power to kill it."

The reason for the fight all revolves around money. In a state like New York, creating a window will open up the door for thousands to step forward and potentially sue churches, institutions and organizations for millions. "They're afraid of the payout, but you know all we heard about the California cases when the statute was changed there, it would break the catholic church, it did no such thing."

PIX 11 did contact Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos to see if the 2012 agenda may include another look at the statute of limitations window proposed by Markey. A representative of Senator Skelos communications team did call PIX 11 News Wednesday afternoon to inform us they would get the Senator on the phone. Senator Skelos never called.