PRESS RELEASE –
When you scan recent media headlines, you are likely to see more stories about Jehovah’s Witnesses (both past and present) coming forward with allegations of child molestation. While many of these reports focus on cases that have been successfully prosecuted, there are many more sexual abuse crimes that we never read about and often are not reported.
We know that it is extremely difficult for victims to come forward, particularly within high-control cultures like Jehovah’s Witnesses that discourage victims from reporting their allegations to authorities. Instead, victims and their families find themselves being coerced into having their cases handled internally by church elders. In too many of these situations victims are themselves further threatened if they want to also report their victimization to police or other secular authorities.
Besides victims and their families having to deal with their own emotions – and then trying to find their way through church policy entanglements – they are then prevented from coming forward and making criminal complaints because many states have “statutes of limitation.”
To correct this situation, members of the New York State Assembly have introduced new legislation to change state law to remove this barrier for those who were sexually abused as children.
[Read the contents of the bill here…]
AAWA fully supports this legislation. The proposed bill’s intent is to eliminate current statutes of limitations for certain criminal acts. It also revives civil actions for specific sexual related offenses committed against a child less than eighteen years of age.
Hearings on the “Markey Bill”…
How You Can Help
Whether you are a New York resident, a U.S. citizen, or a friend living in another country, you will find a letter template provided below that you can customize and send to any (or all) of the New York State Assembly members on the list.
Above all – let your voice be heard on this important issue!
Template: Letter from New York Resident
Template: Letter for U.S. Residents
Template: Letter from Foreign Citizens
One of the parts of this legislation is opening a one-year window for those who were past the previous statute of limitations, so they can finally come forward with their cases. It can take some victims of childhood sexual abuse a very long time to be in a safe enough emotional space to do this. This sends a clear message to molesters–you cannot hide forever, even if your church or others try to hide your dirty crimes. And, the message to victims–you matter, and we care.
This is for NY State ONLY. What about the consideration for the rest of the population? WTH?
I have ONE concern…if this Bill is passed, why wouldn’t opportunists come out to the wood work and make a false allegation against someone just for monetary gain….wouldnt these claims have to be proven? There is a narrow line between truth and fiction, and it wouldnt be the first time someone made a false allegation against an innocent person…..How would this be address in any legislation that would open the statue of limitations. That is why we have statues….I am not sure this is the best way….i feel only those persons that made allegations and took it to court and was denied because of the statues, should be allowed to persue civil or criminal justice….This worries me that anyone can make a new allegation after the statues change…..Give me some clarification on the wording and how this specific issue would be addressed.