Advocates for Child Victims Act ask Phillips to ‘stop protecting hidden predators’

Advocates for Child Victims Act ask Phillips to ‘stop protecting hidden predators’
Marci Hamilton, founding member of New Yorkers Against Hidden Predators and CEO and academic director of Child USA, called on state Sen. Phillips and her colleagues to support the Child Victims Act during a December press conference. The group has now created digital ads calling on Phillips and her colleagues to vote on the bill. (Photo by Rebecca Klar)

New Yorkers Against Hidden Predators launched digital ads in the home districts of state senators, including Elaine Phillips, urging them to state their position on the Child Victims Act.

The ad alternates between a message to Phillips (R-Flower Hill) that reads, “Stop protecting hidden predators,” and a message to constituents that reads, “Call Senator Phillips: Tell her to pass the Child Victims Act now!”

In December, the group of advocates and survivors held a news conference outside Phillips’ Mineola office calling on the state senator to take a stand along with her Republican colleagues.

The bill, which would expand the criminal statute of limitations to victims who are 28 years old and the civil statute of limitations to victims up to 50 years old, has passed the state Assembly five times and, for the first time, was included this year in Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s executive budget proposal.

Under current law, victims of child sexual abuse cannot sue predators after the victim turns 23.

When asked to comment, Phillips issued the same statement she did in December after the news conference.

She said “it is time the legislature works to find solutions to support those who have been abused.”

“Recognizing that most children do not disclose the abuse until they are much older, we need to lengthen the statute of limitations to protect any future victims,” Phillips added.

The group also sent a letter in December to state Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan, a Republican, requesting a meeting after Flanagan told the New York Daily News he would be “more than willing to sit down to have real adult conversations that inure to the benefit of everyone.”

Flanagan has yet to respond, according to New Yorkers Against Hidden Predators.

Beth McCabe, a survivor, advocate and member of New Yorkers Against Hidden Predators, said Flanagan’s refusal to meet with the group and explain his opposition to the Child Victims Act “speaks volumes about his character and priorities.”

“Clearly, he’d rather keep protecting hidden predators than defend innocent children,” McCabe said in a release. “It is time for the Senate to stop their obstruction, and follow Governor Cuomo’s lead by supporting victims who have been silenced by a broken system for far too long.”

Efforts to reach Flanagan were unavailing.

Nassau County Legislator Josh Lafazan also sent a letter last Thursday to Flanagan urging the state Senate to pass the Child Victims Act.

“As a Nassau county (NY) Legislator, I regret that I cannot cast a vote on this vital bill,” Lafazan wrote. “But I absolutely will use my voice as an elected official to lobby my state senators to do what is clearly right.”

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