Article from NY Daily News.
ALBANY — The Boy Scouts of America has hired a former state senator to lobby against legislation that would make it easier for child sex abuse victims to seek justice as adults.
The Boy Scouts this year are paying Dentons US $12,500 a month to lobby on three bills, including against the Child Victims Act.
Former Sen. Craig Johnson, a Long Island Democrat, is a principal for Dentons’ public policy and regulatory practice and one of two people from the firm registered since February to represent the Boy Scouts in Albany, according to filings with the state ethics commission.
Johnson referred questions to the Boy Scouts.
In an email, a spokesman for the organization confirmed Johnson was hired to work “on a variety of legislative matters in New York that impact youth-serving organizations” — including the Child Victims Act.
The spokesman did not respond to a followup email asking why the scouts are fighting the legislation. The organization is said to oppose for financial reasons the push to create a one-year window to revive old sex abuse cases that can’t be pursued under current law.
Online records dating back to 2011 show that it is the first time the Boy Scouts have had a lobbyist registered in Albany to work on the issue. The group has had lobbyists for other issues in the past while the Catholic Church has led the charge against the Child Victims Act.
Child sex abuse survivors like Kathryn Robb and bill sponsor Brad Hoylman (D-Manhattan) criticized the Boy Scouts for spending tens of thousands of dollars this year to fight the Child Victims Act.
“An institution like the Boy Scouts should be more concerned with protecting young children from sexual abuse than protecting their interests by fighting legislation that protects kids and exposes sexual predators,” Robb said in an email. “After all, they call themselves a ‘values-based youth development organization,’ one would hope they value the safety of kids, truth and justice!”
Added Michael Polenberg, of Safe Horizon: “So often, an abuser may first pretend to assume a caring or mentorship role in a child’s life in order to build trust. Safe Horizon believes that exposing those who sexually abuse children allows parents and organizations to best protect the children who are entrusted into their care — it’s deeply disappointing that the Boy Scouts think otherwise.”
Hoylman, a former Eagle Scout, said the Boy Scouts likely hired a lobbyist “because they feel like it’s getting closer than ever to getting done.”
“Opponents are taking it more seriously,” he said.
Hoylman’s version of the Child Victims Act would do away with the civil and criminal time for adults who were abused as kids to bring cases, open a one-year window to revive old cases, and treat public and private institutions the same when it comes to sex abuse cases.
If you or someone you care about was sexually abused and you would like advice from an attorney about the rights and options for victims of child sexual abuse, please contact Crew Janci LLP today for a free, confidential consultation at 1-888-407-0224 or by using our private online form. We will treat you with discretion and respect.