Child Abuse Victims Stung By Albany Inaction, Shant Shahrigian, The Riversale Press
The Riversale Press
By Shant Shahrigian
Horace Mann School graduate Joseph Cumming says it took him 34 years to fully realize his treatment at the hands of his music teacher Johannes Somary was sexual abuse. But by then, even if he had wanted to, it was far too late for him to take legal action. New York’s criminal and civil statute of limitations for sexual abuse of minors is five years after the victim turns 18.
After revelations of decades of abuse involving more than 30 victims at Horace Mann emerged in June 2012, the Bronx District Attorney’s office said the limitations prevented it from prosecuting any of the perpetrators.
The state legislature’s recent failure to take up the Child Victims Act — which would eliminate the criminal and civil statues of limitations for child sexual abuse and create a one-year window for past victims to seek justice — infuriated Mr. Cumming and other survivors.
They placed the blame on state Sen. Co-Majority Leader Jeff Klein, the leader of the breakaway Independent Democratic Conference (IDC), who decides which bills come to the floor of the senate in consultation with Republican Co-Majority Leader Dean Skelos.