Podcast: 'Sex abuse murders your soul' — Richard Tollner, March, 29, 2018



Melissa:    00:00    Hello, this is Melissa, Hale-Spencer, the editor of the Altamont Enterprise, and we're here today with Richard Tollner, who is in kind of a rat race before the budget deadline in New York because he has become a spokesman for a group that's called New Yorkers against hidden predators. Our readers know him because he's from Rensselaerville and is very active there. He's the gop chairmen and has been the assessor. So. Welcome Richard.

Richard:    00:32    Glad to be here.

Melissa:    00:33    I'd like to start with just hearing a little about this group. Could you just tell us how you got involved and how many people there are.

Richard:    00:47    a number of us that have been pro bono lobbying at the New York state Senate and assembly for about a decade. Um, the purpose of the group is to remind folks of the Child Victims Act here in New York state, which is one of the some statute of limitations reporting, child sex abuse. For example, if a child is abused, most children don't come to terms with what happened to them until their adult years when they get married, when they have a baby.

New Speaker:    01:12    And for most people, that's 25, 30, 35, 40, and as a result, by the time they come to grips with wanting to discuss it and do something about it in New York state, the statute of limitations is only age 23, therefore anybody wanting to like out their abuser is time barred by the New York state statute of limitations, whereas many of the surrounding states to New York, um, the statute limitations now go to age 40, 48, 50, even lifetime, therefore we're trying to get more information out to the public to realize that New York State is falling way behind with their statute of limitations reporting on child sex abuse.

Melissa:    01:51    And the, the act that's tied to the budget which has a deadline of tomorrow, would extend that criminal age for prosecution to 28 and civil 50 age 50. Is that right? And how, how did you personally get involved in this cause?

Richard:    02:14    Um, when I was younger I was sexually abused when I was 15 and 16 reported it, nothing was done. Reported again, nothing was done.

Melissa:    02:23    Who did you report

Richard:    02:23     it to? Um, I was in high school prep school, so minor seminary and was abused by one of the priests there, reported it, nothing was done and reported again. I was told that something would be taken care of and nothing happened and reported a third time. Nothing happened fast for...  This was 19

Melissa:    02:45    75, 1976. And I reported it in 1977. So this was before the Boston Globe had done it's big exposé and people were kind of living with this quietly and separately.

Richard:    02:57     Precisely. See, back then we were most people train like, you know, don't discuss it. It might be embarrassing, aren't you embarrassed? Maybe it's your fault. Whereas today it's not anybody's fault. I'm not the bad guy. I never was the bad guy and that's why I reported it back then and continued to pursue. So

Melissa:    03:14    back then you were, how old did you say?

Richard:    03:16    When I reported at 17,

Melissa:    03:18    when it happened

Richard:    03:19     I was 15 and 16.

Melissa:    03:20    So that's such a tender age in anyone's life because you're discovering your own sexuality at that age and you're figuring things out about who you are in the world. And how you fit in with everything else. Did it, did it, if you were someone that was brave enough to step forward, did it scar you? Um, did your parents believe you? Were there people around you that supported you or how did that unfold?

Richard:    03:47    The interesting part is, is I didn't tell my parents and the, the, the person that sexually abused me was the person who told me my father had died when he was a priest. And when my father died in a car crash at work, um, this was the person who told me that my father had died. And at that point I was. So, I guess the word, you know, going inside just being very quiet about everything. I didn't discuss it with anybody. And for years it was on my mind. It affected who I was in a way. It effected my confidence that it affected my opinion of people. It affected my, effected my sexuality because I wasn't certain, you know, was this my fault or is it a problem when I realized it, the incidents, what happened wasn't my fault. So that helped me and my parents raised me right, and so in a matter of a few years as I became an adult, by my early twenties, I realized is not my fault.

New Speaker:    04:43    I should tell some more people about it, I should do something about it. So I actually called friends who knew this person

Melissa:    04:51    So the abuser was just one single person?

Richard:    04:54    one person and I, I reported them to the people he worked with, I reported to people who were working with him and et Cetera.

Melissa:    04:59    And did they simply not believe you or they didn't want to make waves?

Richard:    05:04    They just didn't want to make waves. They just, you know, let it go. And this person ended up in a sense, being an important person. He then eventually went to law school where he ended up being an attorney that handled sexual abuse cases for the Catholic Church for decades.

Melissa:    05:20    Is he still alive?

New Speaker:    05:22    Father Alan Placa  is still alive.

New Speaker:    05:24    And has he been charged with anything

Richard:    05:27    in, um, 2006. I went to the Catholic church here locally in the diocese of Albany and requested a canonical penal trial through Bishop Howard Hubbard's office, whom you remember had his own issues and spent seven to $800,000, exonerating himself through church funds, and what happened here is that the trial that I was told it would take six weeks, ended up taking three years and two months, but it did go to trial, went to trial, and in the end the church found insufficient evidence to address for the plaque as being a sexual abuser, but during the trial, they forgot to call certain witnesses.  

New Speaker:    06:05    They forgot to call a certain victims. They change the locations of their meetings with one of the other victims. That was my supporting witness and supporting victim.

Melissa:    06:05    So there were other victims.

Richard:    06:17    Sure. There's a good number of victims that are out there now that have voiced that they were sexually abused, but the church decided to not pursue it.

Melissa:    06:27    So how did that make you feel?

Richard:    06:29    You can expect. I have very low expectations of the Catholic church to come through. It didn't affect my faith. My. My problem is with the employees, not the company. Um, I still hold my faith. I sit in a church board for many, many years now. I still go to church. I still believe in God. It's a matter that a priest failed me, not the Catholic church, but they chose to ignore me. And in the end when the decision was made, they called the press before, they have never contacted me. They never even told me what the decision was. And when I asked for it, they said call the other diocese. And when I contacted the other diocese where the abuse had taken place, they said call Albany New York. So they've never taken responsibility.

Melissa:    06:29    You've been given the run-around.

Richard:    06:29    Certainly

Melissa:    07:19    I can see that way that would make you an activist. Um,

Richard:    07:22    and determined.

Melissa:    07:23    Yeah. So one of the groups that's against this act as the Catholic church, another is the boy scouts. Any thoughts? I mean, they're probably, they're afraid of more notoriety. Well, lots of money having to be...

Richard:    07:46    Literally, what they're most afraid of... Cardinal Dolan just last week called folks like myself as toxic to the Catholic church and having the ability to strangle the works of the Catholic Church. See the stats are already in this law that we're going for here in New York, already passed in eight states, California, Idaho, Minnesota, Delaware, Hawaii, to name a few. And in all those states, no Catholic diocese or even sections of the Catholic church have gone into bankruptcy. None of them have had severe financial issues. What Cardinal Dolan and the Catholic church is basically afraid of is what undiscovered information that the public doesn't know yet is in the files of the Catholic Church. There hasn't been much of any DAS offices calling on the Catholic Church would search warrants that has since changed. Just last week in Minnesota. A bishop's home was, um, search warranted for information. A number of cases like that have happened in Minneapolis. It's now occurring in Philadelphia area, I believe it's Philadelphia and also in different counties in Pennsylvania. Throughout Pennsylvania. Right now numerous DAs offices are doing some serious investigations of Catholic diocese. Is there.

Melissa:    08:55    The situation in New York is the governor's behind this as part of his budget. The assembly has passed a very similar bill before by partisan support. It's the Senate that's holding it up and it, it's just simply that the bill won't come to the floor, is that

Richard:    09:13    the premise is word on the street, you know, folks like myself and my, you know, two or three dozen co lobbyists that all are, you know, working basically pro bono for the last 10 years is senators are telling us, you know, we would vote for it, we would before we will advocate for you and senator [inaudible] has and Andrea Stewart's cousin has and senator Tim Kennedy from Buffalo as well as a goodly number of other senators who are giving verbal endorsements and the majority of the New York state assembly. But there's a number of Republican senators, basically a Senate majority leader.  Flanagan. And in turn, um, Senator Lanza, Senator Young are also against this. So by preventing the bill from coming to the floor, they prevent it from being voted on. And it's interesting because the only people that basically are coming out against the bill are these large private organizations that stand to lose their reputations and/or a goodly amount of money or so they claim when you look at the facts and figures, um, state of California, which is twice the size of New York, the total settlements didn't even affect any of the diocese even to consider bankruptcy, but yet when Cardinal Dolan found out that he was going to lose in Minnesota, um, it had been set up years before he was there to move assets over into a cemetery fund and try to claim that they were going to be forced into bankruptcy.

New Speaker:    10:32    There's been no forced bankruptcy's any catholic diocese in United States of America. And there's only basically to have that have been looked at and they're both voluntary. And in the one case, the courts throughout the voluntary bankruptcy because there wasn't enough financial stress to even claim the idea or the actuality of bankruptcy.

Melissa:    10:53    You would know this probably better than anyone. It seems a lot of getting justice isn't necessarily about the money it would be to have a time in court to hear, have people, the public acknowledge what happened to you and I assume that kind of thing that you saw with the, you know, through the church trial system, but just talk a little about what justice would mean. Do you fall under the age limit that you could still bring charges? Not The 28. I can see that [inaudible]

Richard:    11:26    interestingly enough right now, um, the three major diocese in New York cities have offered a independent reconciliation compensation program called an IRCPE headed by Ken Feinberg, formerly of the White House, can took care of the one fund Boston, um, you know, money's coming out the pulse nightclub coming out and some of the 9/11 funds. Um, I applied to see what they would say and Mr Feinberg replied back to me, the church believes that my claim was unsubstantiable based on the canonical penal trial here in Albany. So he would not have a conversation with me. But what would it mean if the Child Victims Bill act passed?

Melissa:    12:06    I mean, if you were able to go through the, not the church judicial system, but the United States judicial system with your case, you know, what, what would you hope to come out of it? What would it do for a victim of this kind of abuse?

Richard:    12:22    A victim or someone like myself is is a sense of justice and finding out the complete truth. There's a lot of information that I'm aware of having collected the information and testimonies and relationships with hundreds upon hundreds of sex abuse victims from both the Catholic church, the Olympic teams, the boy scouts, little leagues, and a majority of your sex abuse victims. Basically only four percent of your sex abuse in the United States is clergy and these are facts and figures on that quoting for my own records, but the John Jay study in New York City and the FBI statistics since 1950.

Melissa:    12:57    I'm thrilled to have had that statistic you put on the table here, [inaudible]. That's surprising. There's so much more publicity around the church and the clergy. Four percent. So yeah. How, how as long as you have the data at hand, how does it divide up elsewhere? What are the other percentages that are? Well, we, you know, we talk about stranger  danger. You'd be shocked to find out that stranger danger is probably four or five percent. Majority of your sex abuse victims is a close family member and or a trusted family confidant. The next door neighbor or relative, the coach, a teacher at the school, et Cetera, et cetera. See how sex abuse works with children. It's not like an attack. It's more of developing in grooming that child for relationships so they do not realize due to the immaturity and the trust in the person to end up having a sexual relationship of any type with the perpetrator.

Melissa:    13:53    Is that what happened to you in sort of grooming process because that would make it even harder because it would be someone that you loved and trusted and you'd have to be separating the wrong things that person had done from the things that you valued.

Richard:    14:12    A lot of victims don't even realize that it was criminal until years. Decades later when they realized that, oh my gosh, that that was not only wrong, but it was criminal because they're thinking of the maturity of a child who's eight years old, 12 years old, 16 years old. They don't exactly have all their adult functions. Obviously they're not mature enough to understand what's going on and they haven't completed developing their own sexuality

Melissa:    14:38    and their brains aren't developed. I know that from doing research when they were raising the age, thank goodness they did. You are, but you know, just now with brain scans, scientists can actually see things that are different. Your brain  when you're younger.

Richard:    14:52    Correct. So that would that process victims, basically, it's a victimology type circumstance. The groans, they started acting on these things. They go through it and that has certain point. Either the abuser stops and moves onto the next victim. I mean, what a lot of folks don't understand is people who are abusing children under the age of 18 over their lifetime can have usually about a hundred victims per abuser. I mean, if you think about, there's a doctor in Delaware that has over a thousand abuse cases against him. Larry Nassar was over 120 victims with the Olympic teams where we've seen cases of literally coaches, baseball coaches, scout masters and all basically abusing kids year after year after year after year. I mean Sandusky is a good example of a serial pedophile. These aren't people that are, you know, Mazurka crazier such. There are people who, their predators who practice their craft and as a result over the decades that they get away with this, they basically know how to work the system.

Richard:    15:55    I actually know of one person in the first time he got arrested. He was eighty three years old. Family never knew anything until after he died. I had people come up to me and tell me, Oh yeah, right around World War Two. He did this boy in the 19 fifties, heated that, and someone else would tell me [inaudible], oh, this is what happened. And I said, well, I never, ever discussed this. Oh, well we didn't discuss it back then. If you're listening to this podcast right now and thank you for doing so, but I understand if you know some of this has happened to or it's yourself, tell someone you trust. Tell a family member, tell a teacher, tell her parents, tell a policemen, tell someone because you're not the only one. There's so many people out to the think is this couldn't be happening to anybody else because of the way things are going or the way the other person is behaving.

Richard:    16:47    Honestly, virtually every single time anybody I've met through the last 40, 40 years, I've been talking about this to people and more 15 years professionally on air in programs that events never had someone say, I found out I was the only one. They always say once I realized and I started talking about it, there's always others, and this is why the child victims act is so important because right now I'm not supposed to out my abuser. The only reason why I can is it's already been investigated. Already been identified by the media. There already are other folks out there. What do you mean you're not supposed to? Well, imagine someone out there making a sudden claim against a famous person or a local politician or a business owner. If there's no substantiation, that person could basically intend to sue you for defamation of character. We see in politics, we see it in use, you know, the folks in the press see inklings of it and we always hear about libel claims or you know, someone went too far in describing something

Melissa:    17:51    It seems like the MeToo movement  kind of lifted that.

Richard:    17:52    Exactly. Well, the cat's out of the bag now. Yeah, I mean, if you think about it, um, I'll give you six words. Suffer jets. OK. Civil rights, gay rights, marriage equality, sex abuse and times are changing. Oh, wait a minute. There was a time when suffer jets, you know, women didn't deserve a vote. Now it'd be insane to think that women should not be respected with avoiding civil rights. People of all color and stuff like that. It was an accepted practice many, many decades ago in America. Finally, learn what was right and wrong and we fixed that. Same thing with gay rights, marriage equality. Well now there's another group that we took for granted and didn't fully respect and didn't fully look at and that's children and their care. Not Saying people were wrong or bad all these years. We never gave it as deep of a thought or to the value of it until now mean nowadays.

Richard:    18:42    I mean we don't let kids go anywhere if they don't have their cell phone with them at age eight, 10, 12. OK. You and I are a little bit older than that. When you were a kid, you know, you went down the street and came back in a couple of hours. OK. We didn't lock our doors when we were younger and we certainly dropped the kids off at the neighbor's house. Now we'd be like, let's vet the neighbor. Let's find out who knows them, et Cetera, et cetera. We're being more cautious and it's a good thing. But you ticked off on your fingers in trails or. Yeah, women had the vote, but are we equal pay and treatment or the civil rights movement? There was the voting act, but really I just this week wrote about this great sense of discrimination that I'm Sharon Morgan carries and wrote a book about called gathering, gathering at the table, looking at how her family roots in slavery had influenced her, so I mean all those things still have. Everything is not an even playing field.

Melissa:    19:47    If it goes through would be a start. It would be similar to the right to vote or it will put into law something which is a lot in itself is a public statement about how society feels, but you'd still probably have a lot of work to do as an advocate to to keep. Keep the equality, trying to make, trying to make things more equal.

Richard:    20:18    We need to respect women as much as possible in any ethnic group. Anybody based on religion or where they're from, et cetera and people's rights for their. Their sexuality or choices. It's always going to be worked on a hundred percent of.

Richard:    20:33    But if we don't speak out, if we don't report, if we don't warn, we're not heading in the right direction. That's why we are speaking out. That's why you have the meat to movement. That's why you have our advocacy group. That's why people like myself and many others are calling on our local senators and assembly to follow through. I mean, for example, here when we've visited George amador offices a number of time and reminded Mr Amador, his ability to vote for the Child Victims Act. OK, he's a Republican. He's a senator, is very good senator. He's served this local community quite well.

Melissa:    20:33    What's his stance on it.

Richard:    21:08    His stance is he's making all the considerations but he's not come out against it and he is not stole. I'm wondering if there's other folks that are asking him just to remain polite about the subject matter rather than come out for it because it seems to be a consensus in some of the Republican caucuses out there that um, they don't want to vote for it.

Richard:    21:29    You go down to long island that the senators come right out and say, no, thank you. We were against it. Or there's going to be a thing about false claims and people going to lose money in the state of California with 36,000,000 people. There was five false claims, five out of 36 millions. And how do you know their false claims? They obviously were proven false. And remember this law of people out there worried about either false claims or their church being harmed. Every single victim has to go to court and prove his or her case without beyond a shadow of a doubt. We're not talking just, you know, you jump up and down and scream and yell and say, Hey, I was harmed. I was harmed. You have to come in names, dates, facts, figures. You have to come in. Just like any court case. I mean, if someone sexually abused you yesterday and you went to the police station today, they'd say, prove it. Well, I was sexually abused 40 years ago. They're still going to say the same thing. Proven. So I still have to have witnesses, dates, data backup, other victims. There's no difference in these people, you know, getting a popular movement, the [inaudible] movement and all the things that's happened in Hollywood and with women out there today, let alone kids. Everybody's still has to prove their case. One case at a time.

Richard:    22:42    There's a Quinnipiac University poll that shows 90 percent of New Yorkers favor this act and you're a republican, dyed in the wool. Why is it you think that the Republicans are, if the majority, the vast majority, and that's hard to get a 90 percent call on a piece of legislation. One is what do you think is the

Richard:    23:07    Republicans have a close knit relationship with church leaders and therefore they think that the influence of the church is more valuable than their constituency,

Melissa:    23:18    but as you pointed out, [inaudible] only four percent of those cases are from the church, so they have a vast other constituents  if they're serving

Richard:    23:27    well. If you look in the press today, do you see anybody from any industry or line of work or other religions demanding that this be stopped or slowed down or impede it? There isn't any there. There literally isn't any. A few organizations around the United States regionally have said, wow, you know, if we have an issue with this, uh, we, we could really get hit here in our office, in this area, this region, but like any national organization like Red Cross or Unicef or Peace Corps or any other church, none of them are claiming that you know, they're going to be ruined or harmed. The only exception is Cardinal Dolan, even another Catholic cardinals and bishops around the United States are actually promoting this style of legislation in their home territories and in their own diocese. New York stands to lose the most because it's apparent by the record keeping and by the history that you can find on Bishop Accountability Dot Org, which is the FBI's website of choice for Vre, verifiable quality claims they've, FBI is quoted saying that the site that they would rely on the most for its quality and validity is bishop accountability.org. And if you go there, you'll find that the New York City area diocese basically have the most highest quantity of predators and perpetrators. Likely it's by deduction only that they were allowed to continue their craft rather than be out in some very good bishops in the United States. I've met them, I've talked to them, I've complimented them for they did their job correctly, Catholic, Episcopalian, Protestant, Lutheran otherwise, but in the New York City area, it seemed to be more proliferate.

Melissa:    25:06    One of the things I love that you did earlier in this podcast is you talk directly to people that may be listening and having themselves suffered this kind of abuse and I wonder since you're somebody who to an outsider appears to have lived a very full and happy life. Just before we started, you were telling me good news on your wife and I just wonder if you could just kind of talk to them about how you overcame this abuse and how you've made your life. What it is

Richard:    25:43    I give my parents, the credit, but it comes down to something that's simple. If you going to work today and you in a rush and he just barely got a cup of coffee and everything was going wrong at home and you're running out of the house at the last minute and you get a flat tire. Some people like that. That really is going to ruin my whole day is similar to what happens to us the most with sex abuse. Sexual abuse is a horrible thing. Some people never get over there crushed. They're ruined. They don't understand things. They're angry. They can't get out of it. What I've asked folks who have been sexually abused is you have two choices, suffer or move forward. No, they're both a lot of work because suffering is something that you think can't go away. It's like a wound, like a divorce or ruin relationship.

Richard:    26:30    We are referring to my wife who had cancer, who's basically very, very healthy. She's four and a half years into complete remission and she's this super healthy Albany medical center and thank you, New York oncology, but those people out there that have this, this pain, this suffering, this damage. Pretend that no one in the world can help you. What are you gonna do? Are you still going to suffer or do you want to move forward? Move forward a little bit at a time, move forward at a pace that you can. He'll make up your mind that in a matter of two, three, four, five years when I finished high school, when I get out of college, by the time I'm 25, that I'm going to be whole again. Someone tried to take you from you in sex. Abuse is soul murder. It's like who we are, our essence and our personality, our character, our straight.

Richard:    27:27    Someone tried to take that from you. Take it back. You don't have to ask. You don't have to demand. You don't have to jump up and down and scream. You have to decide where you need your help. You need to talk it out, talk it out. You need just to go collect yourself and start doing easy, peaceful things, fine in ie to work out who you are. Work it out, but you have two choices. Suffer or try to go forward and I think going forward it's a good idea because there's people that they've been sexually abused. They don't talk as much. Their family, they don't talk to as much as their friends. They withdraw from society. Those are people that lose a piece of themselves because they don't know what to do. I'm asking anybody who doesn't understand that to try and just be a little bit more open, be a little bit more kinder, trust someone, tell someone.

Richard:    28:22    Then you should always tell someone because if you don't tell someone all the pain is yours and you can't start healing. As soon as you tell one person, you realize it's not your fault. You report it in whether it's to a family member, spouse, someone you trust, teacher, policemen. You're on the way to healing and a lot of abuse victims that I've met meant seriously. More than half, they'll have very normal lives because they realized I have to work my way through that. It's in everybody's journey is different, but regardless whether it's hard, very hard, incredibly hard year journey as you call it, had such a rough start because you said you didn't tell your parents who are good parents and brought you up in a way that you're who you are and then when you went to the people that should have helped you, they ignored it so that I only had two choices.

Richard:    29:20    Every time something bad happened, suffer or move forward. I've had the bad things. I mean I lost a sister to cancer. I have another bad things happen to me and every time I have something bad happen to me, I decide I can suffer or I can move forward. I'm not doing anything different than some of our leaders have done. Sports figures have done presidency, United States have done, are our heroes have done to get to where they had to get the thing. You think of all these Olympians who trained for four years, eight years, 12 years to go for the Olympics and door people who strive very hard to develop major million dollar corporations, even self employed business owners. They make up their mind that I am going to work excessively hard to get to this plateau and that plateau is the one they pick. It's a regular won. It's a major one. It's a gigantic one for some friends of mine that like I've met. One Guy said, the other thing I want to do is go on a date and not be nervous. He's 40 years old. I mean, you know. That's how it works is you decide that you can help yourself. You decide that you can talk about this. You decide that there is a way to start healing. Everybody heals at a different speed. Some people heal quickly, some people here normally, some people heal slowly.

Melissa:    30:40    What's interesting to me about what I've just learned about you is I would think the tendency when you were hurt by a priest who represents the church and you did very glibly have your answer. You know it's you know just this one priest, the company, not the problem with the employees, nothing. Nothing. How you still have a deep and abiding Catholic faith.

Melissa:    31:07    Also,  you must be able to separate out somehow in your mind what you think of his soul murder with what you see as good in the church, so any hints there,

Richard:    31:25    name, someone who wants to hurt and suffer. None of us do, but some of us think on any subject, you know, someone who lost their house and a fire, they'll never get all their family memories back again and get things collected or someone who loses a friend or a family member or spouse to spouse that their life will never be the same. No, not true. It's not going to be the exact same. I can't say that the harm that was done to me and the damage was done to me. It hasn't affected me, but I will not let it hurt me. I still had to fix it. I still had to gather up myself. I still had to figure out things about myself. I asked for help. I've gotten to help quite a bit, but I know from the examples, from other people before me, what my parents taught me that I can get better and in my case, I'm one of the fortunate ones because, um, I've gone through life and said, you know, I've been in business and I've had good times and bad times in business when you had a bad time.

Richard:    32:24    We used to laugh about it because, you know, I mean, what happened to me was big. So having a bad day at the office, which was a medium size. I'm like, oh, what the heck is a bad day at the office? Or it's that flat time

Melissa:    32:39    So you made it into something that just inured you to any other sort of  disappointments.

Richard:    32:42    What doesn't kill us makes us stronger. And every time these people out there would deny me, I just work harder. I mean, I've, I've testified in three or four, let's see, two or three states that had been all over the place just talking about this. All pro bono. No one pays for any of my expenses. I won't leave you let them. If they tried and it comes down to if there's someone else out there that can help help you, let them help you and you don't have to talk to people. You could just have to understand that other people can heal, so can you, and if other people talked about it, so can you and other people just told one person, so can you. I mean that's the whole point of this is I can change someone's past, but I can help affect their future and that's what it comes down to it.

Richard:    33:28    We're giving people hope fairly. We're giving people the right to say, hey, you're not the bad person, and that's, and that's the whole purpose of the Child Victims Act is if you think about it, here's the most horrible part of this act right now. There are hundreds, if not thousands of sexual predators in the capital region, let alone upstate New York, let alone New York state that have never been on a sexual registered sexual offender registry. Their companies never fired them because they found out or their communities never started shutting them or kicking them out because they heard about it. And there's, there's hundreds of thousands of victims that they know about that person, that man, that woman, whomever, and they can't talk about it because in New York state's laws around you just pick up the pieces and try again next year. We've already got plans for April 20 fourth. If the New York state Senate doesn't pass the Child Victims Act.

Richard:    34:24    Now, inside of governor Cuomo, Bill, there's a, what I call a mid-term election of two of the Democratic leaders that would shift possibly the balance within New York state senate. And the democratic side of the Senate has volunteered to put the bill on the floor. And once this bill hits the floor, the breakaways end some of the main body of the Democrats. OK? So the neat thing is if it doesn't get through right now and we're still optimistic even as right, while this conversation is taking place, all those three men in a room or for men in a room or hopefully 34, 63 men in a room are doing their thing. We still have a backup plan. We're already calling on centers. We are already meeting them. We, we went out to Sandra Flanagan's home last last week at 7:00 in the morning to remind him of his responsibility that he needs to stop protecting predators.

Richard:    35:17    What great for us, uh, the, the senator was most upset that people showed up at his home. We didn't disturb his family. We did not disturb his neighbors. We made the point that you have to understand something not doing something isn't a positive because right now they're, all those sexual predators out there are still practicing their craft. There are situations where we've seen where a sexual Predator would come to New York state because they know New York state has the hardest on the victim statute of limitations and don't believe for a second that there aren't sexual predators out there that talk to other ones actually acts like a beacon for sexual predators because of its laws not having such a large statue of limitations by. I imagine that if you abuse someone who's 17 or 18 years old and New York state, you only have to wait five years and you're off the hook. You can't be prosecuted. You can be arrested and other states, Geez, Gosh, you know, it's like decades, so if you think of how easy it is for the teacher, the basketball coach, the traveling group, the school play, the high school visiting New York City or Niagara Falls or upstate New York to visit the capital and they're from another state. You can get away with it easier here in New York. Then you can other states.

Melissa:    36:34    Well, unfortunately our time is up. I don't want to end on such a horrible feeling about New York state. Do you have any closing thoughts for us?

Richard:    36:43    You have to realize that sex abuse is one of four girls, one of six boys. It's a real life stat. If you don't believe me, next time you're hanging out with your girlfriends or the bunch of guys are hanging out somewhere. Just say, hey, anybody mess around with you and you're a kid. Guaranteed. Someone that group's going to see. Yeah. If they're brave enough and if no one says anything, I'm sure someone has, but here in New York state, we have the chance to change this. This is evolution, not revolution. This is evolution, just like we're talking about those suffer jets and civil rights. Civil rights isn't perfect yet. Gay Marriage isn't right. Perfect yet, but these are people that have gotten their rights from the people, by the people and they have to understand that and the people who don't understand have to learn it.

Richard:    37:25    It's the same thing with sex abuse. We're not putting up with it anymore. We're not going to not discuss anymore. We're not going to tell the victim or the young lady that you should be embarrassed for letting that happen to, you know, that's what it comes down to and so people out there and relax. There's a lot of very good people out there. I, I know the hundreds of more good-hearted priests who are real men and women of the closet of the church and of their religions, of all different types of religions. I've met them, I've talked to them, I've conversed with them. So there's bad apples everywhere, but in your state, majority of them are good, but if you were a parent, you want to have 92 percent of your neighbors be good. Ninety six percent of your neighbors be good, or do you want to protect your child so you check in it all the time and if you want to know how to do some good and feel a little bit better about all these bad things, that would bother you because your normal like everyone else. Next time you see your senator asked him what he or she is doing about the child victims because you would like the children, you know, or the grandchildren or your nieces, nephews, or even your co-workers, children to be protected. Then you can do some good and you can feel better.

Melissa:    38:35    Very good. Thank you.

Richard:    38:37    You're welcome.

More Regional News

  • The pandemic has heightened food insecurity nationwide, said McCoy. Albany County, he said, has worked with United Way, the Food Bank of Northeastern Regional, and “nearly 60 food pantries and soup kitchens to get healthy food to families within our neighborhoods that need it most,” committing a quarter of a million dollars to the effort. Also, the county has provided $109 million in food-stamp benefits to 19,000 families county-wide, he said.

  • Funding, up to $40,000, was available for conservation projects that would protect the natural resources of Albany County and beyond.

  • Reidy is running for the seat now held by Patricia Fahy, representing Albany, New Scotland, and parts of Guilderland. Fahy is running to replace longtime state Senator Neil Breslin, who is retiring from that post after more than a quarter century. 

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