It’s Too Late for Abuse Victims at Horace Mann

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The Horace Mann School. Photo: Graham Morrison/Bloomberg News/Getty

Bronx D.A. Robert T. Johnson wants to hear from former Horace Mann students who were sexually abused by faculty members, but it may not make a difference. On Tuesday, Johnson set up a hotline in response to reports of widespread abuse by several now-deceased faculty members, but experts say New York's statute of limitations on such crimes will prevent charges from being filed against the school. Currently for civil suits and many criminal charges, victims must come forward by the time they are 23. A spokesman for the D.A.'s office told the New York Times that it will continue reaching out to potential victims, even if it can't prosecute, because, "information about past conduct can be helpful in assessing the current situation."

This isn't the first time New York's statute of limitations on sexual abuse has created problems in a high-profile case. While reports of  child abuse in the Roman Catholic Church have led some states to allow charges to be filed decades after the abuse occurred, repeated efforts to loosen New York's laws have failed in Albany, thanks in part to resistance from Catholic organizations. Marci A. Hamilton, a law professor at Yeshiva University, remarks, “New York is one of the worst states in the country for child sex abuse victims."