Advocates Call for Reform of Sexual Abuse Laws

WOKR [Albany NY]
May 20, 2003

Albany, NY (AP) 05/20/03 -- State Senator Thomas Duane is holding a public forum Tuesday on reforming New York's sexual abuse laws related to children.

One of the people planning to speak at the forum is 60-year-old David Leonard of Franfort. He claims a priest raped him when he was 11 years old and that Albany Bishop Howard Hubbard authorized an exorcism for him years later. The Catholic Diocese of Albany says Hubbard did no such thing.

Leonard said that when he was 35, he told a priest about his childhood abuse, and the priest told him he was possessed by demons.

Leonard is calling for changes in the statute of limitations. Senator Duane wants to change current law that gives teenagers one year from the time they turn 18 years old to file a civil suit alleging abuse. His proposal would help people who have missed that opportunity by giving them three years to file a lawsuit.


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