New York - Assemblyman Hikind To Agudath Israel: Please Reconsider Position On Statute Of Limitation

Published on: April 22nd, 2009 at 12:32 PM
By: NY State Assemblyman Dov Hikind - 48th Assembly District

New York - On behalf of the countless sexual abuse victims – those whose stories of personal anguish still resonate with me, and those who still have yet to come forward – I respectfully urge you to reconsider your position regarding the statute of limitations bill containing a window provision which is currently before the Legislature.

I assure you it is not the intention of this legislation to bankrupt or otherwise jeopardize “vital communal institutions,” for we all recognize that the existence of yeshivas and the continuity of the Jewish future are irrefutably tied. Indeed, I believe it is our very commitment to providing our children with a solid Jewish education which has sustained us as a people for generations.

Tragically, however, many of our children, our most precious resource, have been sexually violated in a variety of contexts, and for numerous years, these victims were left without any remedy. Their pursuit of justice has, until now, been filled with endless days of shame, silence, and frustration. We are all guilty of not doing more to alleviate their suffering. You have stated that you have, “no objection to legislation designed to give victims of abuse greater recourse against perpetrators." In this regard, we are of the same heart and mindset.

While your concerns are valid, I implore you to reassess your decision about this bill, to take a closer look, and work toward achieving a satisfactory and equitable compromise on the one year window provision. There are potential alternatives to the bill in its present form which may be more amenable to you. Creating a cap on a litigant’s financial award or on the contingency fees collected by attorneys are just two possibilities which may prove viable.

Achieving justice for the victims need not come about as a result of the financial demise of our greatest institutions. But neither can we forsake those who have already sacrificed far too much.

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