VIN reports Dr. Asher Lipner writes
New York - Agudath Israel in consultation with its Moetzes Gedolei Yisroel (Coucil of Torah Sages) has finally decided not to support the Child Victims Act of State Representative Margaret Markey. The Markey legislation would extend the statute of limitations on both criminal and civil cases involving the sexual abuse of children, and it would open a one-year "window" durring which all past cases of abuse could be presented in court. It is being supported by both Orthodox assemblymen - Dov Hikind, who has become a champion of the rights of victims, and Sheldon Silver, the Speaker of the Assembly, who has voted for it three times. The benefits of allowing all victims of abuse to confront their abusers in court are best explained in Cordozo Law Professor Marci Hamilton's book, Justice Denied: What America Must Do to Protect It's Children. Aside from giving survivors of sexual abuse a chance for justice, similar "window" legislation in two other states have helped society identify over 350 sexual predators who were unknown before the legislation. The alternative bill that Aguda is presumably backing, which does not include such a window, is referred to by Ms. Hamilton as the "Hide the Predator Act".
In lockstep with the Catholic Church, their partners in fighting this much needed legislation, Agudah argues that allowing victims of all ages to sue molesters would put into jeopardy, not only the molesters themselves, but also any institution that knowingly or negligently harbored molesters. This would constitute a potential drain on community resources, (since some important Jewish institutions will undoubtedly be implicated because of a long standing tradition of silencing victims in the community) especially at a time when the economy has hurt our institutions’ ability to do so much good for so many people.
I hope the Agudah reconsiders its misguided position and takes into consideration that on this issue, doing the right thing may actually pay dividends "both in this world and the next". Showing the proper compassion, integrity and sense of justice that the victims of sexual abuse deserve and parents of Jewish children demand, not only is the moral thing to do, but may actually serve to avert many a lawsuit in the long run.[...]