A group seeking to give child sex abuse victims more time to pursue criminal charges or civil action has endorsed Democratic candidate John Mannion in the 50th Senate District race.
Protect NY Kids and its political arm, Fighting for Children PAC, announced its endorsement Tuesday. The groups were founded by Gary Greenberg, a businessman and child sex abuse survivor, to advocate for passage of the Child Victims Act.
"John Mannion will be a fighter for children," Greenberg said in a statement. "I have been advocating for survivors of child sex abuse for over a decade. Despite bipartisan support the Child Victims Act was once again blocked by Senate Republican leadership this year. In order to get this bill passed once and for all, we need to kick out the career politicians and replace them with child advocates like John Mannion."
Under the Child Victims Act, victims would have until they turn 28 to pursue criminal charges and could take civil action any time before their 50th birthday.
The proposed legislation also includes a controversial provision that would provide a one-year window for past victims of child sex abuse to bring lawsuits against their abusers. The "look-back" portion of the bill is the main reason why the Catholic Church and other organizations oppose the measure.
The Child Victims Act has received bipartisan support in the state Assembly, where it passed by a 130-10 vote in May. But it hasn't been considered in the Republican-controlled state Senate.
The 50th Senate District's current representative, state Sen. John DeFrancisco, opposes the bill due to the inclusion of the look-back provision.
"To totally eliminate the statute of limitations for sex crimes would make it almost impossible for someone charged for something that occurred decades ago to mount a proper defense," he told The Citizen in December. "The longer the time has elapsed, the availability of witnesses lessens along with the reliability of testimony."
DeFrancisco, R-DeWitt, is retiring this year. Mannion, an Advanced Placement biology teacher at West Genesee High School in Camillus, is running for the 50th district seat.
Unlike his would-be predecessor, Mannion supports the Child Victims Act.
"Passing the Child Victims Act is a common-sense step that should've been done long ago," Mannion said. "That Senate GOP leadership would side with special interests over justice for survivors shows how truly broken Albany is."
Mannion will face the winner of the Republican nomination. Onondaga County Comptroller Bob Antonacci is the endorsed GOP candidate in the race. Syracuse attorney Rick Guy is also seeking the party's nod.
The general election is Tuesday, Nov. 6.