Brow Beat

Samantha Bee Takes the Catholic Church and New York State Senate to Task for Failing to Help Child Abuse Victims

New York has the shortest statute of limitations for child abuse victims in the country, and as of Wednesday night, that’s not about to change. Samantha Bee dedicated a segment of Full Frontal to shaming the New York State Senate after it wrapped up its 2017 legislative session without voting on the Child Victims Act, which would allow adult victims of child abuse to seek justice up to the age of 28 in criminal cases, and age 50 in civil cases.

Who could possibly oppose such a piece of legislation? Most notably, the Boy Scouts of America and the Catholic Church, who have been lobbying against it, ostensibly because it could open them up to more lawsuits from adult victims—which means spending more money. As Bee puts it: “I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say that if you’re an institution that has hurt so many children that paying out civil settlements would make you go bankrupt, maybe you should.” Bill Donohue, who is president of the Catholic League (an organization independent from the church), has even reached Milo Yiannopoulos levels of trolling in his opposition to the Child Victims Act, calling it “a vindictive bill pushed by lawyers and activists out to rape the Catholic Church.” Seriously.

If you think aligning yourself with people like Donohue and voting against justice for child abuse victims sound like unpopular stances for a politician to take, then you’re right! As she points out, that’s probably why Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan has been preventing the senate from even voting on the issue to begin with, despite the legislation’s passage in the State Assembly. But Bee ended her segment by slapping the phone numbers of Flanagan and Gov. Andrew Cuomo on the screen and a call to action. “[Child abuse victims] have schlepped up to Albany enough. If they have to go back to the capital next year, so help me, New Yorkers can make sure you guys don’t.”