A woman who claims to have been raped by her male teacher has drawn inspiration from Hollywood in her quest to push for laws that would see child sex abuse victims finally protected in some US states.
Kat Sullivan, from Albany, has replicated scenes from the recent award-winning “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri- in which a mother rents the billboards to call for her daughter’s murder case to be resolve- to push for the Child Victims Act to be implemented in the US.
Sullivan claims she was abused in 1998 by her teacher at the Emma Willar School in Troy. Her alleged attacker, Scott Sargent, was fired by the school for sexually abusing a student, but never charged with a crime.
“I have no legal recourse against my rapist, and as a result he’s been free for the last 20 years to hurt other young girls,” she said. “Child sex abuse is an epidemic in New York and it’s time our laws work to protect children, not the people who harm us,” the New York Daily News reports her saying.
She has now deployed three billboards, one on a highway to the state Capitol, one in Fairfield Ct., where her alleged attacker once lived and taught, and one in Springfield, Ma., where the rapist now l i ves.
One billboard says: “My rapist is protected by New York State law. I AM NOT. Neither are you. Neither are your children.”
A second reads: “NY Pass the Child Victims Act.” Sullivan is seen with the words, “Stop Sexual Assault” written on her hands.”
Under current framework, New York, along with Mississippi, Georgia, Alabama and Michigan, is one of the states that is still to scrap obsolete statuatory limitations under which victims of sexual abuse must sue before the age of 23, 19 years below the average age at which people tend to report the crime.
The Child Victims Act would raise the threshold to age 50 in civil cases, and to 28 in criminal cases. It would also establish a one-year window in which anyone would be permitted to bring a lawsuit, even if the statute of limitations had already expired.
A website listed on the billboard says that “at the advertising agency’s request, the name and image of my rapist has been redacted. In 28 days, the billboards will go down and I will be free to tell you directly via this website who is NAME REDACTED.”
It comes as advocates and victims of sex abuse turned up at the Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan’s Suffolk County house to urge him to introduce the Act.
“We’re here because Senator Flanagan has refused to meet with us,” said Marci Hamilton, a lawyer and head of Child USA, the New York Daily News reports. “He’s the only reason this has never been voted on in the Senate.”