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SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) — New York state must lengthen the statute of limitations to bring charges of child sex abuse, a victims’ advocate said in response to a prosecutor’s statement that it’s too late to investigate two men’s claims that they were molested by former Syracuse University assistant basketball coach Bernie Fine.
Victims of childhood sexual abuse are “denied basic legal rights,” said the Rev. Robert Hoatson of the advocacy group Road to Recovery.
“If there ever was a case that screamed ‘injustice,’ it is this one, since it glaringly displays the further damage that antiquated laws can inflict on victims,” Hoatson said in a statement.
Two men say Fine abused them when they were boys in the 1980s. The statute of limitations expired five years after the alleged abuse occurred. On Wednesday, Onondaga County District Attorney William Fitzpatrick said he believed Fine abused the men but said he could not bring state charges.
“Statutes of limitations promote silence rather than speaking out, and statutes force victims to live with the effects of their abuse with the knowledge that nothing can be done about them,” Hoatson said.
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