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New York Extends Child Victims Act

New York Extends Child Victims Act

As we noted in a previous post, in February 2019 the State of New York enacted the Child Victims Act in order to extend the statute of limitations that apply to lawsuits filed by victims of childhood sexual abuse. Since our first post, we have learned that Gov. Andrew Cuomo has signed into law legislation that extends the “look-back” provision of the Child Victims Act. Under that extension, childhood victims of sexual abuse who are less than 55 years of age now have until August 14, 2021 to file a civil lawsuit against their abusers regardless of how long ago the abuse occurred. The previous statute of limitations required a child sexual abuse victim to file a lawsuit before the victim’s 23rd birthday.

The recently-signed extension does not change a key provision of the original Childhood Victims Act. Specifically, the law allows both the abuser and the abuser’s employer/sponsor to be named as defendants in lawsuits where a victim asks a court to order the abuser to pay damages to the victim. As an example, if the abuser was a teacher, both the abuser and the school system where the abuser was employed could be held liable if it can be shown that the employer knew or should have known that sexual abuse had occurred. As you might expect, organizations that benefited from the previous law’s tighter statute of limitations have been fighting the Child Victims Act in the courts.

The Roman Catholic Church’s Diocese of Rockville Centre, which was hit with dozens of lawsuits alleging sexual abuse at schools and churches under its jurisdiction after the Child Victims Act took effect, challenged the law on constitutional grounds. In May, a state court in Nassau County rejected that challenge and allowed 44 lawsuits against the Diocese to proceed. The Diocese is appealing that decision.

At The Doan Law Firm our sexual abuse victims lawyer believes that the appeal will be rejected and that all previous lawsuits, as well as any lawsuits filed during the law’s extension, will eventually be decided based on the evidence presented to the courts. We therefore are encouraging victims of childhood sexual abuse in New York to contact our firm to arrange a free, confidential, and no obligation review of their case and a discussion of the legal options that may be available to you.

Sexual abusers and their employers want their victims to believe that, since the abuse may have happened years ago, there is nothing the victim can do to hold them accountable. The State of New York has given many of these victims another year to seek justice in the courts by filing a lawsuit against their abusers. At The Doan Law Firm we are ready to assist you, the victim of sexual abuse, in forcing your abusers to admit that their lack of concern caused you years of suffering. Now is the time to fight back by contacting us today!

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