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Father Vic and Mary DeSantis hold a copy of the New York Daily News, with a picture of their son, Michael, on the cover, when he was nine years old.On Tuesday, February 27th, the Coalition Against Child Sex Abuse gathered at the State Capitol in Albany, New York. Across the country, this organization, composed of survivors and advocates, lobby legislators to strengthen laws or write new ones, to protect the most vulnerable in our midst. In New York there has been a great deal of effort to pass a Child Victims Act (CVA). This Act would revisit the statutes of limitations, which at this point do not give victims of abuse an appropriate amount of time in which they may file as a victim. Because of the deep personal trauma a victim experiences, they may not have the strength until later in life to report the abuse. Often perpetrators of such abuse “get away” with this heinous crime.

Father Vic and Mary DeSantis, from the parish of St. John of God, had the opportunity to speak publicly to their local legislators and share their perspective of the impact on a parent and family of a survivor. Tragically their son, Michael, had been abused by several Roman priests when he was a child. This did not come to light until he reached adulthood.  Mary continually clarified that the strongest opposition to Child Victims Act continually comes from the Roman Church. Mary’s consistent mantra was “All Romans are Catholic but not all Catholics are ROMAN!”  Those present seemed surprised to find there were other Catholics churches. The DeSantis explained CACINA as being a Catholic faith community, highly supportive of the bill. Where the Child Victim Act goes from here is in the hands of legislators. Prayer is always needed so that justice will prevail.