ALBANY, N.Y. — Actor Corey Feldman, who says he was sexually molested as a young teen, gave his support Wednesday to childhood sex abuse victims and their decade-long effort to get the New York state Senate to pass the Child Victims Act.
The 46-year-old star of such films as “Gremlins,” ”The Goonies” and “Stand By Me” stood on the stairs of the state Capitol’s Million-Dollar Staircase outside the Senate entrance to call on the Republican-controlled chamber to pass legislation that would extend the statute of limitations on molestation to give alleged abuse victims more time to seek criminal charges or file a civil lawsuit.
“We must pass the CVA. It’s time for this legislation to take hold,” Feldman said. “We must work together with fierceness and ferocity to make that change today.”
Feldman was backed by advocates, lawmakers, and men and women who say they were sexually abused while children.
The legislation would extend criminal and civil statutes of limitations going forward and create a one-year window for victims to file civil lawsuits against their alleged abusers even if the current statute of limitations on civil suits has passed. The last provision is opposed by the Roman Catholic Church, the Boy Scouts of America and other large institutions that say they could be financially devastated if the bill becomes law.
Under current New York law, victims of alleged child sexual abuse have until age 23 to pursue criminal charges or file lawsuits against their abusers. Supporters of the legislation want the age to be changed to 28 for criminal cases and to 50 for civil lawsuits, contending it often takes decades for survivors to feel comfortable reporting sexual abuse they suffered as children.
The bill has passed the Democrat-controlled Assembly. Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo has embedded the legislation in his state budget proposal for the coming fiscal year that begins April 1.
But the Senate, where Republicans hold the majority with the help of a group of breakaway Democrats, hasn’t taken up the legislation. Instead, the Senate GOP has proposed a compromise that would address the statutes of limitations but offer no “look-back window” for bringing court action against alleged child sexual abuse perpetrators.
New Yorkers Against Hidden Predators, the coalition that held the rally, has vowed not to budge on the legislation’s one-year window provision.
Feldman went public late last year with claims that he was molested as a young teenager while starting his Hollywood career. California police investigated his claims but closed the case after determining the statute of limitations had expired.