Letters to the Editor (Long Island Edition)

February 18, 2003

I do not want to be in a position of responding to another district attorney's investigation. However, given Paul Vitello's attack on my handling of sexual abuse allegations in the Diocese of Rockville Centre, as compared with that of Suffolk District Attorney Thomas Spota, it should be noted that the year-long Suffolk Grand Jury probe did not result in one indictment ["I Saw What the Other Couldn't," News, Feb. 11]. Rather, it found, just as our investigation did, that all past allegations were time barred by the statute of limitations, and that no criminal charges could be brought for failure to report those allegations, because there is no state mandatory reporting law.

The Suffolk Grand Jury calls for changes in the statute of limitations, and for mandatory reporting of sexual abuse of minors. I did that 10 months ago. I drafted legislation to extend the statute of limitations, obtained sponsors for it, and got it passed in the State Senate last spring. The Senate also passed a comprehensive mandatory reporting bill which I supported. Unfortunately, the Assembly did not pass either bill, so I have written the sponsors urging them to resubmit the bills this year. We could have used the support of the Suffolk district attorney last spring in fighting for this legislation, and I would welcome it now.

As to the rest of Vitello's tirade against my record in office, I believe the fact that the people of Nassau County have elected me eight times, usually by overwhelming margins - and usually with Newsday's endorsement - reflects the public's continued confidence in my office's high standards of performance and integrity.

Denis Dillon

Editor's Note: The writer is Nassau County district attorney.


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