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New York - Orthodox Groups Remain Divided As Markey Bill Highlighted In Albany

Published on: May 4, 2016 10:22 AM
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(L-R) Rabbi Ari Hart of Uri L'Tzedek, Sex victims activists Mark Meyer Appel, Manny Waks, Assemblywoman Margaret Markey (Shimon Gifter/VINnews.com)(L-R) Rabbi Ari Hart of Uri L’Tzedek, Sex victims activists Mark Meyer Appel, Manny Waks, Assemblywoman Margaret Markey (Shimon Gifter/VINnews.com)

Albany, NY - A two day push to remove the statute of limitations on child abuse cases began Tuesday in Albany with elected officials, child safety advocates, religious groups and abuse victims clamoring for the passage of a pair of bills that would give New Yorkers who were molested as children a greater chance to seek justice.

The Child Victims Act is sponsored by Assemblywoman Margaret Markey and Senator Brad Hoylman.  The Queens assemblywoman has been fighting for ten years to change the statute of limitations in New York, which currently only gives those who were abused as children until age 23 to press charges against perpetrators as reported by the Times Union.  While versions of the bill have been adopted by the Assembly four times, the legislation has never been introduced in the Senate for a vote.

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“New York is among the very worst states in America for how it treats victims of childhood sexual abuse,” said Markey.  “We rank right at the very bottom among the 50 states, along with Alabama and Mississippi. This is the year to change that deplorable situation.”

While Markey had originally sought to extend the statute of limitation on child abuse cases, the current Child Victims Act would completely eliminate the civil statute of limitations and would also create a one year window for older victims to press charges against their attackers. A second companion bill would, in the future, eliminate the criminal statute of limitations in child sex abuse cases.

Lawmakers say the prospects are improving with a recent change in legislative leadership in Albany. They also credit Massachusetts’ passage two years ago of a similar measure and the recent Academy Award-winning film “Spotlight” about priest abuse of boys in Boston.

Attorney General Eric Schneiderman threw his support behind the bill last month, urging both Senate majority leader John Flanagan and Assembly speaker Carl Heastie to bring the bill to vote in a timely fashion.

“Prosecutors must be empowered to deliver justice in these cases,” wrote Schneiderman in a letter written to legislative leaders, obtained by The Daily News.  “By denying child sexual abuse victims their day in court, we are denying them their right to equal justice under the law.”

While child safety advocates from the Orthodox Jewish community traveled to Albany to voice their support for the bill, others have opposed it.  Agudath Israel of America acknowledged the horror and devastating effects of child abuse but according to The Forward, expressed concern that the Markey Bill would open schools up to “ancient claims and capricious legislation,” saying that it could wreak financial havoc for those institutions.

“We do not oppose extending or even eliminating the criminal statute of limitations for cases of abuse,” said Agudah spokesperson Rabbi Avi Shafran.  “Our concern is simply protecting the economic viability of Jewish schools. Yeshivas operate on shoestring budgets.”

In a 2013 interview with The Forward, Rabbi Chaim Dovid Zwiebel, executive vice president of the Agudah, noted while it is important to have accountability for incidents that could have taken place even decades ago, certain distinctions must be drawn in order to protect all parties involved.

“We have said that we would have no problem if you did away with the statute of limitations with respect to criminal actions that might be taken against perpetrators, no problem if you go after the individual perpetrators even way beyond the statute of limitations,” said Rabbi Zwiebel.  “We even said we would entertain the possibility of doing away with the statue of limitations for civil liability against individuals.  But if you speak about institutional liability for the acts of an employee, that’s where you are talking about the potential of really destroying some very, very precious assets, which are our schools and shuls.”

Zvi Gluck, director of Amudim which deals with abuse cases, noted that the importance of allowing victims to bring criminal charges against perpetrators or those who knowingly covered up instances of abuse without being bound by the statute of limitations.

“ The time has come to stop sweeping abuse under the rug,” said Gluck. “Sexual abuse is killing our kids and it is unconscionable that people who commit financial frauds have a longer statute of limitations than those who commit murder by molesting children.  This archaic law must be changed so that those who abuse our children be held criminally liable just as they would for other crimes committed.”


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Read Comments (30)  —  Post Yours »

1

 May 04, 2016 at 10:44 AM Esther Says:

Zweibel says the schools are precious,precious assets that could be destroyed by financial accountability. How precious are they if they covered up child abuse?

2

 May 04, 2016 at 11:18 AM grandpajoe Says:

It is sad that the Haredi community still sweeps these issues under the rug.

3

 May 04, 2016 at 11:25 AM Fair Minded Says:

There has to be a bill that addresses both issues.
1) raise the statue of limitations as 23 is quite young
2) Although Aguda only addresses the institution issue I will adress the perpetrator issue. Under the current system the accused can't get a fair trial. Child abuse is so sensitive our minds right away turn to the other extreme of assuming guilt prior to any proof it. With emotions flying around its almost impossible to prove innocence once accused. Those that take a plea because they know they will never win are ostracized forever. Furthermore, the few that fight and win are bashmutzed for life due to the publicty even though they are innocent. And to top it off it cost a fortune to even fight for innocence. Often the money alone pushes people to just plea.
The system should change to address these issues. That does not mean stick up for the accused and ignore the victim. In fact like I stated we should make it easier for victims to lay out their accusations. But at the same time there needs to be fairier system for the accused as well. Anyone who disagrees well let me tell you I can just totaly fabricate a story that u molested me in the mikva and your life is done.

4

 May 04, 2016 at 12:00 PM Anonymous Says:

I'm ashamed to be a Jew. One in every two kids in kj are abused. What are we waiting for?

5

 May 04, 2016 at 12:14 PM Anonymous Says:

Why do you assume they covered it up? Even if they did, the leadership, parent and student body of most (of course there are exceptions) yeshivas and shuls today has little to no connection to those same institutions of 35 years ago. If the perpetrators are alive, go after them. If the leadership that covered up abuse is/are still alive, go after them. Why go after an entire institution that has no connection to past misdeeds?

6

 May 04, 2016 at 12:17 PM charliehall Says:

"it could wreak financial havoc for those institutions"

If they abetted or covered up abuse they SHOULD get financial havoc -- to the point of having to shut down!

7

 May 04, 2016 at 12:23 PM Maven Says:

We are ALL for child protection,period.
Call me crazy but when i see the kind of people in the forefront for this bill that says it all. These so called Jewish child safety advocates seek nothing but to defame and slander the entire Orthodox community.No matter how these advocates dress modern to chasiddic they are a Shanda to Yidden.

8

 May 04, 2016 at 12:52 PM BeenThereNJ Says:

Agudah is admitting to child abuse in the past, or else they would not fear the consequences. Yet they are protecting the schools...because why?

9

 May 04, 2016 at 12:55 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #7  
Maven Says:

We are ALL for child protection,period.
Call me crazy but when i see the kind of people in the forefront for this bill that says it all. These so called Jewish child safety advocates seek nothing but to defame and slander the entire Orthodox community.No matter how these advocates dress modern to chasiddic they are a Shanda to Yidden.

You don't sound like you are for child protection, at all. Child Saftey advocates, try to do exactly that. And yes, they defame child molesters who are wearing Orthodox garb, and those that protect them, which is close to most of the Orthodox community. I would call you crazy, buy you saved me the job...

10

 May 04, 2016 at 01:04 PM Chip Says:

Why not amend the bill to exempt religious/charedi Jewish institutions and hold secular and modern orthodox and conservative ones accountable ?

11

 May 04, 2016 at 01:07 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #6  
charliehall Says:

"it could wreak financial havoc for those institutions"

If they abetted or covered up abuse they SHOULD get financial havoc -- to the point of having to shut down!

And what if they didn't?

12

 May 04, 2016 at 01:09 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #7  
Maven Says:

We are ALL for child protection,period.
Call me crazy but when i see the kind of people in the forefront for this bill that says it all. These so called Jewish child safety advocates seek nothing but to defame and slander the entire Orthodox community.No matter how these advocates dress modern to chasiddic they are a Shanda to Yidden.

Almost 100%of child abuse advocates (other than politicians) are abuse victims, and therefore many have rabid hatred and anger at all rabbis, Jewish leaders, and the frum community. Therefore their advocacy is tainted.

13

 May 04, 2016 at 01:21 PM Anonymous Says:

3 and 4 year old kids don't make this up when they tell their parents what the rabbi did to them and when the parents go to the rabbi to discuss, they are threatened with shunning.

14

 May 04, 2016 at 01:24 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #6  
charliehall Says:

"it could wreak financial havoc for those institutions"

If they abetted or covered up abuse they SHOULD get financial havoc -- to the point of having to shut down!

But that's the big IF. Say they didn't cover anything up. It would still wreak havoc and shut them down.

You see you right away assume guilty. we believe innocent ill proven guilty.

15

 May 04, 2016 at 01:25 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #7  
Maven Says:

We are ALL for child protection,period.
Call me crazy but when i see the kind of people in the forefront for this bill that says it all. These so called Jewish child safety advocates seek nothing but to defame and slander the entire Orthodox community.No matter how these advocates dress modern to chasiddic they are a Shanda to Yidden.

These Jews whom you condemn are the only ones fighting for our Kinder. Orthodox leaders say the kids are laying even when pediatricians testify. Does agudah care about our abused tots?

16

 May 04, 2016 at 01:42 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #12  
Anonymous Says:

Almost 100%of child abuse advocates (other than politicians) are abuse victims, and therefore many have rabid hatred and anger at all rabbis, Jewish leaders, and the frum community. Therefore their advocacy is tainted.

Tainted by what? The truth? The hatred only comes from the betrayal to victims. It comes from the Rabbi, Jewish leaders and frum communities fierce protection of child molesters in religious garb.

17

 May 04, 2016 at 01:54 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #1  
Esther Says:

Zweibel says the schools are precious,precious assets that could be destroyed by financial accountability. How precious are they if they covered up child abuse?

Exactly right. We are talking about schools that enabled and protected predators. The schools are not being held liable for individuals conduct unless their own conduct was involved. There is no doubt they should be held accountable. Such schools should not exist if their conduct is widespread. What sane parent would want to send their child to such a school.?

18

 May 04, 2016 at 01:57 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #10  
Chip Says:

Why not amend the bill to exempt religious/charedi Jewish institutions and hold secular and modern orthodox and conservative ones accountable ?

Flamer!

19

 May 04, 2016 at 01:59 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #12  
Anonymous Says:

Almost 100%of child abuse advocates (other than politicians) are abuse victims, and therefore many have rabid hatred and anger at all rabbis, Jewish leaders, and the frum community. Therefore their advocacy is tainted.

Nonsense. So every crime victim should have no enemies because they may be bitter. Your logic is tainted.

20

 May 04, 2016 at 04:15 PM Anonymous Says:

I see most posters here are opposed to the Markey bill which means possibly thousands of our Kinder will continue to suffer in silence because no one cares.

21

 May 04, 2016 at 04:23 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #12  
Anonymous Says:

Almost 100%of child abuse advocates (other than politicians) are abuse victims, and therefore many have rabid hatred and anger at all rabbis, Jewish leaders, and the frum community. Therefore their advocacy is tainted.

Really? Where did you get your statistics? Are none of them psychologists? social workers, teachers? rabbis? ministers? They're almost 100% abuse victims? They have rabid hatred and anger? Which fortune cookie did you pull this from?

22

 May 04, 2016 at 05:20 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #13  
Anonymous Says:

3 and 4 year old kids don't make this up when they tell their parents what the rabbi did to them and when the parents go to the rabbi to discuss, they are threatened with shunning.

1) My 4 yr old loves making up stories so i am not convinced
2) Older kids are intelligent enough to make things up. I had a friend a camp counselor whom had a child in his bunk whose dad was a respectable lawyer. He threatened the counselor once that if the counselor doesn't let him do what he wants he will go to his dad and make up a story that the counselor molested him. Teenagers can surely make up stories. Once the story is out whether true or not the counselor is fried. Of course we must deal with sex abuser harshley. But the way we accuse people so freely and ruin their lives prior to a conviction is horrendous.

23

 May 04, 2016 at 07:29 PM Anonymous Says:

On 04/07/2014 the assembly penal code committee voted not to advance a bill (5991) that would have gotten rid of the statute of limitations for child sexual abuse for the molester. Officially Aguda agrees with this bill, so how come they don't care about our children and didn't lobby for this bill?

Furthermore the ALL THE DEMOCRATS in the committee voted against protecting children.

24

 May 04, 2016 at 08:34 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #22  
Anonymous Says:

1) My 4 yr old loves making up stories so i am not convinced
2) Older kids are intelligent enough to make things up. I had a friend a camp counselor whom had a child in his bunk whose dad was a respectable lawyer. He threatened the counselor once that if the counselor doesn't let him do what he wants he will go to his dad and make up a story that the counselor molested him. Teenagers can surely make up stories. Once the story is out whether true or not the counselor is fried. Of course we must deal with sex abuser harshley. But the way we accuse people so freely and ruin their lives prior to a conviction is horrendous.

Pediatricians testify in our abuse cases about their little patients' abuse. The rabbonim threaten and the case vanishes. This happens all the time. Any VIN readers care at all or is it just the secular Jews who are fighting to help our kids? Agudah in all cases blames the kids even with Pediatricians' documents!

25

 May 04, 2016 at 09:29 PM Esther Says:

Reply to #3  
Fair Minded Says:

There has to be a bill that addresses both issues.
1) raise the statue of limitations as 23 is quite young
2) Although Aguda only addresses the institution issue I will adress the perpetrator issue. Under the current system the accused can't get a fair trial. Child abuse is so sensitive our minds right away turn to the other extreme of assuming guilt prior to any proof it. With emotions flying around its almost impossible to prove innocence once accused. Those that take a plea because they know they will never win are ostracized forever. Furthermore, the few that fight and win are bashmutzed for life due to the publicty even though they are innocent. And to top it off it cost a fortune to even fight for innocence. Often the money alone pushes people to just plea.
The system should change to address these issues. That does not mean stick up for the accused and ignore the victim. In fact like I stated we should make it easier for victims to lay out their accusations. But at the same time there needs to be fairier system for the accused as well. Anyone who disagrees well let me tell you I can just totaly fabricate a story that u molested me in the mikva and your life is done.

Obviously,you assume a lot of convicted child molesters are innocent. Let them bay sit your kids and grand kids.

26

 May 04, 2016 at 09:34 PM Esther Says:

Reply to #5  
Anonymous Says:

Why do you assume they covered it up? Even if they did, the leadership, parent and student body of most (of course there are exceptions) yeshivas and shuls today has little to no connection to those same institutions of 35 years ago. If the perpetrators are alive, go after them. If the leadership that covered up abuse is/are still alive, go after them. Why go after an entire institution that has no connection to past misdeeds?

It's not an assumption;it's a fact. In just about every case involving long term abuse,there was a systemic cover up. I was witness to one in Yeshiva I myself taught in.

27

 May 04, 2016 at 09:38 PM Esther Says:

Reply to #7  
Maven Says:

We are ALL for child protection,period.
Call me crazy but when i see the kind of people in the forefront for this bill that says it all. These so called Jewish child safety advocates seek nothing but to defame and slander the entire Orthodox community.No matter how these advocates dress modern to chasiddic they are a Shanda to Yidden.

OK,you're crazy. The shanda is the that child molesters were protected by people like you and that victims were ignored or worse. It's absolutely sickening!

28

 May 04, 2016 at 09:43 PM Esther Says:

Reply to #12  
Anonymous Says:

Almost 100%of child abuse advocates (other than politicians) are abuse victims, and therefore many have rabid hatred and anger at all rabbis, Jewish leaders, and the frum community. Therefore their advocacy is tainted.

Bashmutzing child advocates doesn't change a thing. The child molesters and those who protected remain culpable.

29

 May 05, 2016 at 11:02 AM Anonymous Says:

A second child appears on a video from kj and a Monsey rabbi said it's OK what the rabbi did to the little boy!!! I'm totally shocked!!!

Channel 12 interviewed the Monsey rabbi. Shanda for innocent boys.

30

 May 05, 2016 at 12:09 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #25  
Esther Says:

Obviously,you assume a lot of convicted child molesters are innocent. Let them bay sit your kids and grand kids.

I would if I believe the guy is innocent. Its a case by case issue. But I surely believe our system is rotten and lots of people are in convicted or take the plea because the system is broken. Its very similar to the african american community who suffer alot from being unable to fight false convictions. For starters it cost alot of money to fight. And automaticlly one is assumed to be guilty at the start

31

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