Earlier this month, New York assemblywoman Monica Wallace introduced a new bill called the Child Abuse Reporting Expansion (CARE) Act, demonstrating another step policy-makers are taking towards tackling the child abuse issue across the state.
The CARE Act would obligate clergy members of all faiths to notify law enforcement of suspected child abuse, even when they learn of the incident during confessional. Currently, the law exempts clergy members from having to report cases of child abuse through a “clergy privilege” provision. The proposal of this bill stems from the ongoing child sex abuse scandals that have continued to come to light of these past several months. Many clergymen across the country, including eight New York dioceses, have recently been credibly accused of sexually assaulting minors in years past.
This act would also increase the penalties of mandatory reporters for failing to report second or subsequent instances of child abuse, and would also add penalties for mandatory reporters who schemed to conceal acts of child mistreatment.
The CARE Act is another step in the New York legislature’s battle to reform the culture surrounding these types of offenses. Earlier this year, Gov. Andrew Cuomo passed the Child Victims Act, which increased the statute of limitations for survivors to file claims against their abusers. Both bills mark the tangible strides being taken towards finding recourse for an issue that has plagued the state for many years.
Our attorneys at Goldstein and Bashner are seasoned professionals in cases such as these. It is important to have an experienced legal team behind you to help you through what can be a daunting process.
If you or someone you care about has experienced childhood abuse, please reach out about a consultation on your case. We understand that these matters are extremely sensitive, and we hope to do our best to bring closure to survivors. Do not hesitate, give us a call today.