HURLEY, N.Y. — Timothy Cardinal Dolan wants to be an ally of those seeking justice for victims of child sex abuse — but he doesn’t support their bill.
Cardinal Timothy Dolan playfully interacts with students as they pose for photos at John. A. Coleman Catholic High School in Hurley, N.Y. on Monday. (ANTHONY DELMUNDO/NEW YORK DAILY NEWS)
During a visit to a Catholic high school near upstate Kingston on Monday, Dolan was greeted by about 10 protesters calling on him to back legislation — known as The Child Victims Act — that would remove the statute of limitations on cases of child sex abuse and allow a one-year look-back window for victims to revive old civil cases.
“If they’re protesting (for) the rights of young people who have been sexually abused, they should count me as an ally not an enemy,” Dolan said.
Dolan, however, cited the church’s support for another bill — sponsored by Assemblyman Michael Cusick (D-Staten Island) and Sen. Andrew Lanza (R-Staten Island) — that would remove the statute of limitations but does not open a look-back window.
“They’re even stricter, so that’s what we’ve got to go for,” Dolan said. “Let’s hope we make some progress.”
The Catholic Conference and other critics of The Child Victims Act have argued the look-back window would lead to a torrent of frivolous claims against the church and other defendants.
Frivolous? They're not frivolous to those victimized by pedophile priests! If you were actually the least bit sympathetic with those victims, as you say you are, you would know that.
Advocates for The Child Victims Act scoff at the church’s argument.
“Cardinal Dolan has always been against the look-back,” said Gary Greenberg, founder of Fighting for Children PAC, who said he was sexually abused in 1967 at the age of 7.
“It isn’t monetary,” Greenberg said. “It’s because when you get into court you can do depositions, you can subpoena records, it will come out that the church hid it, which they did. It’s well known.”
Protesters stood across the street from John. A. Coleman Catholic High School where Cardinal Timothy Dolan was speaking Monday. (ANTHONY DELMUNDO/NEW YORK DAILY NEWS)
Despite intense lobbying by advocates and a campaign in favor of the bill by the Daily News, the Child Victims Act failed to come up for a vote in the Senate and Assembly earlier this year.
Advocates for the bill vow to continue their fight and try again next year to bring the measure to a vote.
In a bid to build support, Greenberg’s PAC is also backing a handful of insurgent candidates running for Senate and Assembly in November. Two candidates for state Senate were among the activists taking part in Monday’s rally.
Greenberg said they won’t give up. “We’re here to let him know that we want him to start giving victims of priest abuse an opportunity to go into court and have accountability,” he said.
Some New York lawmakers and the state's Catholic Church have opposed the Child Victims Act. (NEW YORK DAILY NEWS)
“We want him to start caring about victims because that’s what he’s supposed to stand for and he hasn’t stood for that,” Greenberg continued.
“Cardinal Dolan is fighting this legislation,” added activist Melanie Blow, 38, of the Stop Abuse Campaign.
“The Catholic Church is spending huge sums of money fighting this legislation, and it’s just because they don’t want to be held accountable,” Blow said.