(NYPOST) – A Long Island Catholic diocese is suing to overturn the Child Victims Act, claiming the new law that protects sex abuse survivors, many of whom suffered at the hands of the church, is unconstitutional.
The Diocese of Rockville Centre filed papers Tuesday in Nassau County Supreme Court against the act, which changed the statute of limitations for child sex crimes and opened up a year-long window where any child sex abuse victim can file a claim against their abuser, regardless of when the alleged crime happened.
The diocese challenged the law on many grounds, but focused on saying New York’s constitution allows for time-barred claims “only in exceptional circumstances where claimants were previously prevented in some specific manner from asserting timely claims,” papers filed in court show.
They cited a New York Supreme Court decision from 2006 where a judge ruled the plaintiff, a man who’d been abused when he was 13-years-old by a priest, could have brought charges against the abuser earlier because he was aware of what happened to him.
Jennifer Freeman, a lawyer with the Marsh Lawfirm that focuses on child sex abuse and pornography cases, said her firm has at least 200 clients with new claims against the Catholic Church.
She doesn’t see the diocese’s motion going very far.
“They will lose because the court needs to show the legislature had an important need and important reason to change the statute of limitations,” Freeman told The Post.
“The statute of limitations is not constitutionally required, either to have one or not have one.”
She pointed out the church’s original support of the CVA, calling the “shocking reversal” “an aggressive assault on New York’s governor and legislature.”
“This is utter hypocrisy. On the one hand they supported the passage of the Child Victims Act and now they’re saying that it’s unconstitutional,” Freeman railed.
“You can’t have it both ways.”