What follows is a transcript of my statement in support of the Child Victims Act to members of the New York State Assembly, press, advocates & survivors of childhood sexual abuse. “I’d like to say that I’m making this film from some pure journalistic curiosity.
As you know, that’s not the case.
I am making this film because at fourteen years old, when all I wanted in the world was to be a better hockey player, I skated down the wrong block. Five blocks from my home in Brooklyn, a trap had been laid. This was a trap perfected by a man who by that point had coached a thousand young boys over twenty years. He made himself a master of manipulating both adults and children.
When I decided to move forward with this project, I sent this man, my abuser of 4 years a letter asking him to be involved in this documentary about “the men who made us what we are today.” He jumped at the opportunity, saying it would be the honor of his life.
I’d like to show you a few moments from these interviews now.
(I then played four minutes of interviews with my own abuser. Admitting and justifying sexual abuse as a “lesson”. Raising the concern that doing this interview could put him in jail. Laughing with relief when the issue of New York’s statute of limitations—age 23—is raised. And then this man walking away, fading back in to his neighborhood.)
When people see this man walking back into his neighborhood, they all ask the same question: “What neighborhood is this guy walking back into?”
Your neighborhood. That’s the answer to that question.
All of our neighborhoods.
Those who have suffered sexual abuse as children have become tragic experts in a field that the rest of the world wants to pretend does not exist. Yet survivors can be society’s lifeguards. While millions of children splash about in the surf right now, there are sharks circling. Survivors bear the scars of these sharks. We are the ones who can say “There. There is the predator that attacked me.”
Give the people who know, the chance to say what they know.
The statute of limitations have taken the whistles from the lifeguards. Victims are forced to watch; helpless, mute—as predators sink their teeth into the next victim, and the next victim. While we scream on the sand, child after child is snatched from the sunlight and dragged to the darkness below. Not every child will survive to see the surface again. None will emerge from this fully intact.
There is blood on somebody’s hands here…
The statute of limitations by it’s very existence in cases of child sex abuse—create more victims. Many lawmakers seem to cast their vote as if they believe a shark, once fed, will never eat again. The reality is that these predators will feed for a lifetime on our children. And the short statute of limitations in our state guarantees 30, 40, 50 more years of children—-our children—your children—-as prey. A generation of children that could so easily have been spared.
I have been forced to watch—helpless— as my own abuser, a coach with direct easy & access to a hundred children a year for decades, found his next victim, and his next victim. I reported him at twenty-four years old. So close…
In my case, the criminally short statute of limitations has created a video vigilante. In my darkest years, this story could have had other endings. I would have killed myself to end the pain. I would have very easily killed my abuser to end the threat to other children. To make the shame go away. I could have made the only person who knew my secret go away just like that. What are your options when your ability just to tell the truth has been taken away by law?
But I but I didn’t drive the three hours from New York City to impugn the good name of this esteemed body by implying that the majority don’t care about safety at all.
In fact the majority have voted to make the great state of New York a safe haven. Let it be known to molesters, pedophiles and child sex predators that this state has chosen to protect you. You are safe here. With each failure to pass the Child Victims Act we are saying to these criminals: Welcome to New York.
When we have to rely on other states such as Massachusetts to enforce our laws, to arrest & try our criminals what we are telling those who rape and molest children is this: New York is the path of least resistance. Stay within our borders, and you are unprosecutable.
Passing the Child Victims Act can change that. A vote for the Cild Victims Act can put you on the right side of history. You can let the true experts, the survivors, have their day in court, to say what they know. You can give the lifeguards back their whistles, you can play your part in looking an a pandemic, a shark-infested sea, and saying: “We’re gonna need a bigger boat”.
You must extend the statute of limitations by passing the Child Victims Act and giving the victims back their voice…otherwise I’m afraid that this legislative body will go down in history as an assembly of accomplices.”