From the Morning Memo:

A version of the Child Victims Act has passed several times over the past decade in the New York State Assembly including last year. Western New York Democrat Sean Ryan explained his past and current support for the legislation which would extend the criminal and civil statute of limitations for abuse cases.

“During the 60s and 70s and 80s there was a rash of child sex abuse throughout America that institutions turned a blind eye to and now you have adults who are now coming to terms with this abuse but they have no recourse in the court system, either through criminal or civil penalties because their time to file a lawsuit has expired,” he said.

This year, the governor included the bill as part of his executive budget putting pressure on Senate Republicans to finally pass it. Critics of the legislation say statute of limitations are there for a reason, so crimes can be prosecuted while testimony and evidence is still fresh.

Others believe it could create a deluge of lawsuits in New York’s courts. Regardless, Ryan said pursuing justice is more important with these cases.

“I’m optimistic this is the year. The governor seems firmly behind it,” he said. “There’s nothing more heartbreaking than having a victim of childhood sex abuse come to your office to tell you what happened to them, to tell you how the institutions failed them.”

The bill has been, for lack of a better term, spotlighted in the assemblyman’s district this year, due to victims of alleged sexual abuse in the Buffalo Catholic Diocese coming forward.

“This is something you can’t bury and this is what we’ve just seen transpire over the last week here in Western New York,” he said.

Ryan, a Catholic within the diocese himself, said he’s troubled by the reports but pointed out these cases are not limited to the church and institutions like the Boy Scouts and U.S.A. Gymnastics have dealt with similar issues. He said in general, society and institutions are more aware of making sure children are protected but that doesn’t help those who have already been hurt.

The assemblyman also noted, when the Child Victims Act first went before the Legislature, it was a novel idea, but since then other states have passed similar laws to mostly successful result.