Governor Cuomo on Monday discussed the Child Victims Act in Albany, surrounded by triumphant victims from around the state, rejoicing in the state legislature's passing of the bill that would soon have the governor's signature. In an Oneida County living room, on Tuesday, there was far less fanfare, but just as much gratitude and relief.
"She does get more anxiety attacks now and panic attacks," said "Marie", whose 15-year-old daughter was raped by a 25-year-old man. "He's being sentenced in February. He took the deal. The most he couldn've gotten was four years. He took the deal. He's getting three years and 15 years parole and lifetime on the list and lifetime order of protection for my daughter."
The Child Victims Act extends the statute of limitations for child sex crimes, allowing criminal cases to be commenced until the victim's 28th birthday, for felonies; 23rd birthday, for misdemeanors. Marie's daughter didn't tell her she was raped; she was too traumatized and afraid. If someone else who knew about it hadn't told Marie, her family might have found itself in need of the extended statute, years down the road.
"I think for people that may have been too scared to come forward for whatever reason...I believe in justice.....I think others...this law...it'll help for them," said Marie.
Oneida County Undersheriff, Joseph Lisi, says the new law will help victims right here, in our community.
"We've had people come to us that are over 23 that are revealing that they've been the victim of sex abuse and we can't do anything criminally," says Lisi. "Some go into their 20s and they go to counseling and they reveal to the counselor that this has happened and by the time this happens in their lives, they're older than 23."
The governor is expected to sign the Child Victims Act into law in the coming days.