BY Glenn Blain and Stephen Rex Brown (New York Daily News)
May 11, 2016
See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil - and for good measure - confront no evil.
In other words, Albany's three men in a room still don't have time to talk about the rights of child sex abuse victims.
One refused to meet with a sex abuse survivor. One had no public schedule and his office didn't return calls. A third was so annoyed that a reporter dared to ask him about the issue, he made it sound like he was under attack.
"No, stop," whined Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie (D-Bronx), waving off a Daily News reporter on Wednesday.
The News wanted to know if the Assembly was going to take action on efforts to reform the statute of limitations on child sex abuse. Currently, child sex abuse survivors in New York are unable to bring civil or criminal charges against their abusers after their 23rd birthday.
The legislative session ends on June 16. Between now and then, lawmakers are generally scheduled to work only three days a week. They're off Thursday and Friday of this week.
See you on Monday.
Sex abuse survivor and advocate for reform, Kathryn Robb, had no luck with Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan after days of trying to arrange a face-to-face meeting with the Long Island Republican.
After several emails and phone calls with his office, Robb received a rejection through one of Flanagan's staffers.
"Why can't he take 10 minutes to meet with us?" Robb asked.
Her frustration was in large part due to her and other advocates' failed attempt last week to score facetime with Flanagan by showing up at his office. After a chat with an aide, Robb said she was told she needed to schedule a meeting with Flanagan who wields tremendous influence over what legislation is brought to the Senate floor for a vote.
On Wednesday she got official word that meeting couldn't happen.
"Senator Flanagan is unable to meet," staffer Lisa Bruno wrote to Robb, 56.
Robb, who said she and her sister endured sexual abuse at the hands of their brother in the late 1960s and 1970s, asked if there were any other days when Flanagan would be available. She was instead referred to his senior staff.
"Unfriendly, chilly, very uncooperative - that would be an understatement - to just listen to people talk!" Robb said, describing her interactions with Flanagan's office. "This is really significant legislation!"
Flanagan spokesman Scott Reif challenged Robb's characterization.
"That is absolutely not true - the assertion that anyone was unfriendly, that anyone rejected a meeting," Reif said.
"The meeting was set up for next week," he added, referring to the sit-down with senior staff, but not Flanagan.
Robb, undaunted, said she would be joined by six other advocates on Monday for a return visit to Albany politicians' offices.
"We're really committed. We're calling it a civil rights movement for children. That's what it is," Robb said.
A clearly annoyed Heastie dismissed The News' coverage of the issue as he ducked into his office.
"You guys have already made your opinion known," he added referring to recent Daily News front pages.
"I have no comment."
On Tuesday, The News published on its front page the photographs and office numbers of Heastie, Flanagan and Gov. Cuomo, urging New Yorkers to call them and demand action on the statute of limitations.
Heastie has previously told The News he needs to discuss legislation with Assembly Democrats.
Cuomo, whose office has said "those who are guilty of sexual abuse should be held accountable and due process must be maintained," was not in Albany Wednesday.
His office did not respond to an inquiry from The News.
There are several bills under consideration that would change the state's statute of limitations on sex abuse claims.
One bill, proposed by Assemblywoman Margaret Markey (D-Queens), would end the statute of limitations for civil lawsuits involving cases of child sexual abuse and allow a one-year window for victims whose cases are currently time-barred to sue.
Another bill would extend the time in which victims can sue from 23 to 28. A third would eliminate both the civil and criminal statutes of limitations.
There is no time limit in New York State for prosecuting first-degree rape.