• No Sweat
  • Thursday, June 18, 2009

    New York's "Hide the Predator Act"

    This is one of those times where it isn't just Republicans I am disgusted with. This is a case where a corrupt political deal involving Brooklyn's Party Boss Vito Lopez is essentially protecting child molesters.

    Assemblyman Vito Lopez, political ally of WFP and city council candidates like Steve Levin and Maritza Davilla, is under attack for his watering down a bill to protect children abused by sex offenders sheltering in religious institutions. Here's video from a local TV station (sorry, includes an ad at the beginning...thanks to a reader for passing it on to me).

    Wonder how Working Families Party, Steve Levin and Maritza Davilla justify their ties to this kind of back room deal to protect child abusers from legal prosecution by their victims. Will WFP, Steve Levin and Martiza Davilla repudiate Party Boss Lopez's protection of child abusers or will they toe the line like good little hacks and support protecting child abusers? My guess is they will toe the line.

    Some more background from Jewish Week:

    According to Marci Hamilton, professor of law at Cardozo Law School and author of “Justice Denied: What America Must Do to Protect Its Children,” the “correct name for the new Lopez bill [should be] ‘The Hide the Predator Act.’”

    “Unlike the Markey bill, this bill does absolutely nothing to help New Yorkers identify the many secret child predators in New York, who have been benefiting from the short statutes of limitations for decades. With the Markey bill, we have a proven method of finding the predators in our midst. The Lopez bill gives them continuing cover to abuse our children.”

    Lonnie Soury, a spokesman for Survivors for Justice, a group of abuse survivors who grew up in Orthodox communities, urged the legislators to “stop playing politics with our children’s lives. Any support for the Lopez bill is at the behest of, and in the interest of, the Church and a few Orthodox Jewish institutions and not designed to protect children and their families from predators.”

    From the Jewish Star:

    Sexual abuse activists have criticized the Lopez bill saying that it would help sexual predators. They claim it is meant to detract attention from the Child Victims Act, stronger legislation sponsored by Assemblywoman Marge Markey (D-Queens), which would extend the civil and criminal statutes by five years and, more critically, open up a yearlong window to bring cases that currently are beyond the statute of limitations...

    Marci Hamilton, a professor at Yeshiva University and the author of “Justice Denied: What America Must Do to Protect its Children,” said it was a “non-event” that the Lopez bill had made it out of committee, after all.

    “The bill accomplishes nothing for victims,” Hamilton explained. “It’s classic form to make them look like they’re doing something, but it is keeping the secrets and keeping the predators under wraps.”

    For Hamilton, the window is the most crucial element of the bill.

    “We know how the window works,” she said, noting that when a similar bill passed in California, 300 previously unknown predators were identified. “It’s pretty simple — if you’re against the window, you don’t want the predators out.”

    So next time you see someone from WFP, or Steve Levin or Maritza Davilla, confront them on this issue. Ask them if they support the "Hide the Predator Act" that their political mentor and ally, Vito Lopez, has proposed.