RELIGION

Victims, Roman Catholic Church spar over NY sex abuse bill

  • In this March 3, 2017, photo, former competitive speedskater Bridie Farrell poses in New York with a pair of her skates and photos of herself as a young skater. Farrell, who says that as a 15-year-old she was sexually abused repeatedly by a 33-year-old teammate, is hoping, like other survivors of child molestation, that this may be the year New York passes a law lifting one of the nation's tightest statutes of limitations on filing criminal charges and lawsuits against their abusers. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

    In this March 3, 2017, photo, former competitive speedskater Bridie Farrell poses in New York with a pair of her skates and photos of herself as a young skater. Farrell, who says that as a 15-year-old she was sexually abused repeatedly by a 33-year-old teammate, is hoping, like other survivors of child molestation, that this may be the year New York passes a law lifting one of the nation's tightest statutes of limitations on filing criminal charges and lawsuits against their abusers. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)  (The Associated Press)

  • In this March 3, 2017, photo, former competitive speedskater Bridie Farrell poses in New York with a pair of her skates and photos of herself as a young skater. Farrell, who says that as a 15-year-old she was sexually abused repeatedly by a 33-year-old teammate, is hoping, like other survivors of child molestation, that this may be the year New York passes a law lifting one of the nation's tightest statutes of limitations on filing criminal charges and lawsuits against their abusers. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

    In this March 3, 2017, photo, former competitive speedskater Bridie Farrell poses in New York with a pair of her skates and photos of herself as a young skater. Farrell, who says that as a 15-year-old she was sexually abused repeatedly by a 33-year-old teammate, is hoping, like other survivors of child molestation, that this may be the year New York passes a law lifting one of the nation's tightest statutes of limitations on filing criminal charges and lawsuits against their abusers. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this March 1, 2017, file photo, traffic passes St. Patrick's Cathedral, left, and the Lotte New York Palace Hotel, in New York. The hotel occupies land the New York Archdiocese is seeking to mortgage to raise $100 million for clergy sexual abuse settlements. The Roman Catholic Church is the most vocal opponent of a bill that would loosen one of the nation's tightest statutes of limitations on filing criminal charges and lawsuits alleging past abuse, saying it would financially devastate the church, already reeling from the expense of earlier legal settlements. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)

    FILE - In this March 1, 2017, file photo, traffic passes St. Patrick's Cathedral, left, and the Lotte New York Palace Hotel, in New York. The hotel occupies land the New York Archdiocese is seeking to mortgage to raise $100 million for clergy sexual abuse settlements. The Roman Catholic Church is the most vocal opponent of a bill that would loosen one of the nation's tightest statutes of limitations on filing criminal charges and lawsuits alleging past abuse, saying it would financially devastate the church, already reeling from the expense of earlier legal settlements. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)  (The Associated Press)

Victims of child sex abuse in New York say the political power of the Roman Catholic Church and other institutions is preventing lawmakers from passing a law that would relax one of the nation's tightest statutes of limitations on filing criminal charges and lawsuits.

The bill also would create a one-year window for lawsuits otherwise barred by the statute of limitations. The church says that provision would cause "catastrophic" financial harm to any institution that works with children.

Abusers say that's no justification for depriving thousands of victims an opportunity for justice.

Supporters lobbied for the bill at the Capitol last week. They say they're optimistic this year because Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo has said he supports the idea of making it easier for victims of abuse to sue.