Assemblywoman Margaret Markey is pushing a bill in the State Assembly that would extend the statute of limitations for civil claims brought by sexual abuse victims. (Interestingly, it does not attempt to toughen criminal penalties for sexual abuse.) The bill has been promoted non-stop by media such as the Daily News, which has vilified anyone who has questions about it or opposes it outright. However, what is not being discussed by the media is that Markey's bill has fine print with major implications: it targets religious and private institutions while granting exemptions to public entities, such as the Department of Education, which runs the majority of schools in our city.
In order to sue the City of New York, you need to let the City's Corporation Counsel know within 90 days of the incident that you intend to sue. This is known as the ͞Notice of Claim͟. If you do not file a Notice of Claim within 90 days, you forfeit your ability to sue. However, there is no such notice requirement for suing religious or private institutions.
If Markey's bill included language that would remove the Notice of Claim requirement, it would allow victims to sue ALL abusers as well as institutions where the abuse occurred, including public schools. Years ago, Markey actually had edited her bill to remove Notice of Claim requirements in cases of sexual abuse. However, the result was immediate pushback from municipalities and not surprisingly, Markey caved and once again included an exemption for public agencies.
There are many more public school students than private school students, and therefore many more sexual abuse survivors who were victims of predators that worked at public schools. Even today, there are regular reports of public school teachers being arrested for inappropriate relationships with students. These victims should be entitled to the same protection under the law as students in private schools.
We are calling on Marge Markey to once again remove the Notice of Claim requirement from her proposed legislation. By continuing to promote the bill in its current form, Markey is simply giving a gift to her attorney donors while actually continuing to prevent the justice she claims she wants sexual abuse victims to receive.