The bill, if passed, would extend the “statute of limitations,” or the time legally allowed for sexual abuse victims to press charges, to 10 years after reaching the age of 18, as opposed to the 5 years currently allowed—effectively allowing victims to sue to the age of 28, not 23.
Most significantly, the bill would create a temporary one-year “window” in New York State in the near future during which any victim could come forward to press charges for any alleged past crime, regardless of when it occurred or how old the victim is.
Appel made the appeal live this past motzoei Shabbos radio show of Jewish radio talk show host Zev Brenner.
“People should call their organizations… to get this bill passed,” said Appel. “We don’t need any more conferences.”
Addressing those who felt the issue of frum-community sexual abuse is being disproportionately emphasized, Appel praised the Jewish community to put the relatively small but critical problem in context. “There is no community like us in the world… there is no greater nation in the world than Am Yisroel.”
Most significantly, however, Mr. Appel directly addressed prominent Agudath Israel official Chaim Dovid Zwiebel, whose organization has yet to take a public stand on the issue. “Please… I ask you like a father to a son. Ich bet dir… get on board.”
Appel also inexplicably wondered aloud why outspoken activist Dov Hikind did not mention the bill at his recent abuse-victims chizuk event, when he did just that several times.
The interview wrapped up with Appel defending his position against several frum and irate anti-bill callers and reiterating his call for the frum grassroots to call upon their organizations to support the bill. Appel also exhorted listeners to “flood the lines” of State Assemblyman Joe Lentol (D-50th Dist.), who as the Assembly Chairman on the Committee of Codes decides which criminal justice bills even make it to the floor for voting.
In an e-mail to VIN News, Orthodox Union Executive Director Rabbi Tzvi Hirsch Weinreb insisted that the OU supports the intent of this bill. “The Orthodox Union generally supports the expansion of the statute of limitations to enable victims of sexual abuse to pursue legal claims, and we are not opposed to this legislation,” Rabbi Weinreb wrote.
Also today, the Am Echad organization will hold a news conference in Borough Park in front of Amnon’s Pizza at 13th Ave. and 48th St. to rally support for the Markey bill.
VIN NEWS ALERT: Assemblyman Lentol’s office has asked that when you call, please know which bill you’re calling about—there are TWO! The main bill, the one being pushed by Appel, is Bill A2596/S2568, a.k.a. the Markey Bill. The alternative bill, A5708, is known as the Lopez bill. (It contains no “window” and only extends the statute of limitations to age 25, not 23—for full details on both, click here.)
For audio of the full interview on the Zev Brenner show, click below.