In 1998, as a student living at Emma Willard School in Troy, Kat Sullivan says she was raped by her history professor. She reported it to school administrators, but says she was sent away from the school and the incident was never reported to police. By the time she came forward, it was too late.
"New York has some of the worst laws in the U.S.," Sullivan said. "For me, the statute of limitations was up by the time I was 23. I wasn't able to seek justice."
Current New York law gives child victims five years after they turn 18 to take legal action against a sexual predator.
Advocates like Sullivan, who moved back to New York to help push this issue, have been trying to change those laws for a decade. The Child Victims Act was included by Governor Andrew Cuomo in this year's budget address. It would raise the age for victims to seek criminal prosecution until they are 28 and give them civil recourse until they are 50.
It has been included in the Assembly's One House budget, but has been dropped in the Republican-controlled Senate. That caused Kat to -- literally -- take her message to the streets.
Sullivan has sponsored three billboards, after seeing the Oscar nominated movie "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri," calling out the State of New York and her alleged rapist. One billboard is near the Emma Willard School on Route 787; one near a school her alleged rapist worked after Emma Willard; and one near where her alleged attacker currently coaches soccer.
"My goal with the billboards was to bring attention to a couple different things. One was to warn people of my rapist. That's all I can do is warn you," Sullivan said.
Emma Willard sent Spectrum News a statement after the billboards went up, saying in part, "We feel grief and compassion for anyone who experienced harm in the past and we are committed to the continued work that is necessary to keep our students safe. We commend and support the survivors of sexual abuse who are committed to affecting change around this important issue…"
Sullivan paid for the billboards with money she received in a settlement from Emma Willard.
"I would welcome a day in court. I would love a full discovery," Sullivan said. "I assume you are talking about defamation. He would have to prove I wasn't telling the truth. Let's do that. Let's have that day in court."
Sullivan says she will reveal the name of her alleged rapist on her website after the billboards come down. She plans to come to the Capitol within the next week to lobby for the passage of the Child Victims Act in person.