Seeking Justice for Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse In New York

Posted on Thursday, March 18th, 2021 at 6:36 pm    

The Child Victims Act, signed by Governor Andrew Cuomo on February 14, 2019, allows sex abuse survivors to hold their abusers accountable for the injuries and emotional suffering they caused. This monumental piece of legislation provides a one-year lookback window for pursuing civil action regardless of how long ago the abuse took place. This has allowed thousands of survivors and families to file lawsuits and seek criminal charges against individuals for financial compensation and criminal penalties.

Typically, New York follows a strict statute of limitations for bringing legal action against another person. State law requires a victim to pursue criminal charges for sex crimes within five years of the incident. Filing a civil lawsuit means doing so within three years if you want to recover a monetary award for your losses. However, the Child Victims Act includes provisions to extend those deadlines. The extensions mean a person can:

    • File civil lawsuits until the victims turn 55 years old.
    • Press criminal charges for felony sex crimes until the victim reaches 28 years of age or pursue criminal charges for misdemeanor offenses until the victim turns 25.
    • Seek legal action against public and private institutions involved in the sexual abuse of children.
    • File lawsuits despite the expired statutory deadline for up to one year after the lookback window started.

The lookback window originally expired on August 14, 2020. However, the Covid-19 pandemic caused court proceedings to come to a screeching halt. They shut down temporarily to slow the spread of the virus, delaying lawsuits already in progress and preventing survivors from filing altogether. Governor Cuomo decided to sign new legislation granting additional time to pursue cases involving sexual abuse. The new deadline was pushed back to January 14, 2021.

Although the extended timeframe was helpful, many people lost their jobs because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Unemployment insurance claims were difficult to file, and some child sex abuse survivors wondered how they could afford legal fees when they’re barely able to make ends meet without a source of income. These circumstances prompted Governor Cuomo to sign another legislation pushing back the deadline yet again. Now, the lookback window doesn’t expire until August 14, 2021.

Recent Lawsuits Filed Under the Child Victims Act

A former counselor at a YMCA in New York is facing allegations of sex abuse. Legal documents claim that the counselor sexually abused two brothers during an after-school program from 2005 to 2007. They were between the ages of seven and eleven years old at the time the abuse took place. The lawsuit also names the local school district, an elementary school, and the YMCA as defendants.

According to the boys’ attorneys, other employers were aware of the ongoing abuse but did nothing to report or stop it. The filed lawsuit also claims that the former counselor was under minimal to no supervision, giving him access to the boys and allowing adequate time to groom them into trusting him before taking advantage. He is currently in prison, serving a twelve-year sentence.

Another lawsuit filed under the Child Victims Act alleges that a former teacher and basketball coach at a high school in western New York sexually assaulted and raped one of his students. Court documents show the student, who was 14 years old when the incidents began, was the victim of sexual assault, sexual battery, and rape for two years. The teacher would give her special attention and pay her compliments during school, eventually leading to unwanted sexual contact.

The former basketball coach regularly took his victims to adult softball games sponsored by a local pizzeria. Individuals playing in those games were also teachers from the same school district. According to the lawsuit, multiple teachers preyed on female students while other teachers ignored the behavior and failed to report it to the authorities. The sex abuse victim is seeking punitive and compensatory damages for the psychological injuries and emotional distress she endured.

An organization in Poughkeepsie also received a lawsuit claiming a young boy experienced repeated sexual abuse from 2004 to 2008. The administrator allegedly groomed him for a while before eventually assaulting him. Court documents claim she invited him to her office at least once a week to participate in intercourse and mutual oral sex. She was already on the New York State Sex Offender Registry after serving an 18-month prison sentence for raping someone under 17 years old. The lawsuit accuses defendants of being negligent in employing, supervising, and retaining employees who sexually abused residents that were minors at the time of the incidents.

Contact Hach & Rose, LLP for A Free Consultation

The New York City personal injury lawyers of Hach & Rose, LLP have been representing survivors of childhood sexual abuse for 20 years. Our team has over 100 years of combined legal experience and has recovered more than $300 million in compensation for our clients. When you hire us, we can use our experience, knowledge, and resources to hold your abuser liable for their despicable actions. You can depend on us to go to battle for you and fight for the justice you deserve.

We will tirelessly work until we reach a favorable outcome in your case. You can expect transparent communication from the second you walk through our office doors until the end of the legal process. You will be our top priority as we’re seeking the financial compensation you’re owed for the suffering you were forced to endure. Customer service is of the utmost importance to us, and you will be able to reach us 24/7 no matter what.

Do not hesitate to contact a compassionate and dedicated New York City personal injury lawyer from Hach & Rose, LLP. We can meet you for a free consultation to discuss the details of your case and determine the best legal options for achieving your legal goals. We will not rest until we hold your abuser accountable for the harm they caused.

Call us at (212) 779-0057 right now if you suffered injuries from childhood sexual abuse and want the opportunity to seek the monetary award you rightfully deserve.

Hach & Rose Files Claim Against Top NYC Prep School

Posted on Friday, March 12th, 2021 at 5:33 pm    

35 years later, a former student of Trinity School, an elite NYC prep school, is taking action against his abuser.

Our client attended Trinity School for both elementary and high school. During that time, he attended a month-long study abroad trip to Europe when he was 12. He was encouraged to go on this trip by Robert Kahn, a history teacher at the school, who would be the sole guardian of the students attending the study abroad trip. Just before the trip began, our client’s father passed away, and our client’s mother expressed concern that perhaps her son should not attend the trip. Once again, Kahn insisted that our client attend the trip and reassured her that he would take care of him.

During the final portion of the trip, the students went on a week-long cruise. Our client wanted to access his travelers checks and asked Kahn, who was holding all the students checks for safekeeping, to give him the checks. Kahn insisted that our client could only access his checks by coming with him to his cabin. When our client arrived at the cabin, Kahn answered the door in only underwear. He tried to quickly get the checks and leave, but Kahn tackled our client on the bed and attempted to pin him down. Our client was able to fight him off, grab the checks, and escape the room.

Unfortunately, this isn’t where the story ends. The following year, when our client was 13, he attended another school trip to China and Japan, with a layover in Hawaii. Once again, the trip was chaperoned by Kahn. Near the end of the trip, the group was on a bullet train in Japan. While they rode, Kahn encouraged our client to drink some sake. Not long after drinking it, the boy nearly passed out while standing on the train. When the group arrived at their destination in Hawaii, Kahn insisted that our client stay in his room due to our client’s “illness.” While staying in Miami, Kahn again insisted that our client had to stay in his room. He gave the boy pills, which he said was amoxicillin, and told him to take off his underwear and rest. When Kahn and the other student returned, he would not allow anyone else into his room. The other students asked where our client was and attempted to see him, but they were denied. Kahn proceeded to molest the drugged boy while he slipped in and out of consciousness.

After this incident, Kahn told our client that he had taken photos of him while he was drugged. Embarrassed and fearful that there were pictures that could get him in trouble, our client went into Kahn’s room and exposed the film in his camera, ruining any pictures that might have been on the film. When Kahn discovered this, he punched a hole in the wall. After the trip, Kahn told our client that he had to pay him $100 for the damage to the hotel room, or he would tell the principal and his mother what happened on the trip. Scared of getting in trouble, our client gave in to this extortion.

Kahn cornered our client, forced him into situations where he was vulnerable, and molested him. He threatened our client with punishment and exposure, when in truth he was much more at risk from the truth coming out. Our client never should have had to suffer through these experiences. As a teacher in charge of students while they travel out of the country, Kahn should have protected and guided these students, not abuse, drug, and threaten our client.

The New York Child Victims Act affords those who were unable to pursue their cases an opportunity to seek justice. Previously, child victims were not permitted to file against their abusers once they surpassed the age of 23. The recent legislation acknowledges the fact that many victims take time to process what happened to them, and often repress the memories for many years. This does not mean that they don’t deserve to have their day in court, or that their abuser should get away with their crimes. Hach & Rose, LLP is proud to pursue justice on behalf of former child victims who are ready to come forward.

The Child Victims Act Allows Sex Abuse Survivors To Face Their Abusers In Court

Posted on Friday, March 5th, 2021 at 7:00 am    

The statute of limitations in New York requires pursuing criminal charges for sexual abuse within five years of the incident. Survivors interested in seeking financial compensation must file a lawsuit within three years of turning 18 years old. These relatively short timeframes have long prevented child sex abuse survivors from having the opportunity to hold abusers accountable for their misconduct. However, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the Child Victims Act on February 14, 2019, allowing a new timeframe for initiating legal action.

Under this Act, victims of child sex abuse and their families:

  • Can file a civil lawsuit until the child sex abuse survivor turns 55 years old.
  • Have a one-year lookback window for bringing legal action against their abuser.
  • Can pursue criminal charges for occurrences of child sex abuse until they reach the age of 28.
  • Don’t have to file a notice of claim for cases involving sexual abuse against a minor.

The one-year lookback window is a vital part of the Act, giving survivors the time they need to prepare their case and face their abuser in court. The deadline was supposed to expire on August 14, 2020; however, the coronavirus made its way to the United States at the start of the year, closing down courthouses across New York. This created problems for those eager to press criminal charges and file civil lawsuits for financial compensation for their losses. Governor Cuomo decided it was necessary to extend the lookback window to January 14, 2021, providing another five months to commence legal action.

Additional Time Granted to Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse

Covid-19 cases continued to spike, leading to layoffs around the state and an increased number of claims for unemployment benefits. Some people already filed lawsuits with the court but faced delays when the courthouses closed. Others haven’t had the opportunity to file and wondered if they could even afford legal fees now that they’re out of work.

With the ongoing issues caused by the pandemic, Governor Cuomo signed new legislation on August 3, 2020, pushing back the deadline for the lookback window to August 14, 2021. Survivors now have additional time to look for a job and find a way to afford legal representation. The cost of an attorney can be steep, resulting in financial hardships. With another deadline extension, sex abuse survivors can breathe a sigh of relief, knowing they have more time to prepare their legal cases.

New York Dioceses Find A Way to Keep Money Out of the Hands of Sex Abuse Survivors

The Catholic church in New York sold Fidelis Care in 2018 and created the Mother Cabrini Health Foundation to hold $4.3 billion of its insurance company’s proceeds. They made this move shortly before the Child Victims Act’s passage, legislation they tried to fight against for over a decade. The dioceses have a history of filing for bankruptcy to avoid handling individual lawsuits. Instead, these cases must go through the bankruptcy court, where the church could potentially avoid public trials.

Four New York dioceses have filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy after receiving hundreds of lawsuits to compensate for sex abuse victims’ various losses. Pursuing a sex abuse case in bankruptcy court means survivors will likely receive a lot less money than they deserve. The judge can only consider the church’s assets rather than assets in separate entities, such as the Mother Cabrini Health Foundation. Although this strategy is entirely legal, it does not seem fair that individuals suffering the long-term effects of abuse might not get their fair share of compensation from the dioceses.

Former Dalton School Headmaster Facing Allegations of Sexual Assault

Gardner Dunnan, the former headmaster of the Dalton School in New York City, previously faced a lawsuit in 2018 for sexual assault. However, the victim decided to dismiss the lawsuit voluntarily in March 2019. She chose to drop the case because she initially filed it in New Jersey and wanted to file in New York under the Child Victims Act after Cuomo signed it into law.

The plaintiff, known as J.S. in court documents, alleged that Dunnan sexually assaulted her during four separate incidents. According to the lawsuit, J.S. lived with Dunnan and his family between September 1986 and January 1987 when she was just a teenager. She worked as the “family helper,” caring for a newborn in exchange for free tuition.

When Dunnan’s wife found out about the sexual abuse, she asked the young girl to move out. J.S. ended up transferring to another school and sought therapy for the trauma this experience caused. She felt guilty for what happened and even blamed herself. It wasn’t until years later that she finally felt ready to face her abuser and hold him accountable for the suffering she had to endure.

Unfortunately, this is a common occurrence among child sex abuse survivors. Many don’t want to admit what happened out of shame or fear that no one will believe them. Sometimes, it takes decades before a person is ready to say out loud what they went through and seek legal action against their abuser. It’s important to know you have options for recovering financial compensation and pressing criminal charges. The Child Victims Act provides the opportunity you deserve to finally seek some closure and put this devastating experience behind you.

Contact Hach & Rose, LLP Today

At Hach & Rose, LLP, our New York City personal injury attorneys have over 100 years of combined legal experience. We know how to protect our clients’ rights and achieve favorable results in their cases. When you hire us, we will work with you closely to meet your legal needs and recover the maximum compensation you deserve for the sexual abuse you experienced as a child.

You shouldn’t have to suffer any longer. We will be your advocates and help you face your abuser in court and hold them liable for their despicable actions. Hach & Rose, LLP understands the lifelong effects of abuse. Even if your physical injuries heal, your emotional scars could last for years. You don’t have to go through this alone. We will fight by your side until the very end.

Call us at (212) 779-0057 for a free consultation if you were a victim of child sexual abuse and are ready to seek the justice you deserve.

Opportunity for Sex Abuse Survivors To Seek Justice Under the Child Victims Act

Posted on Friday, February 19th, 2021 at 5:48 pm    

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the Child Victims Act into law on February 14, 2019. It allows survivors of sexual abuse to seek civil and criminal action against their abusers regardless of how long ago the incident took place. Typically, the statute of limitations requires initiating criminal action within five years from the abuse date and within three years of the victim’s 18th birthday for civil lawsuits. Even if someone was a victim of sexual abuse 30 years ago, they now have a new timeframe for pursuing financial compensation.

The main points included in this Act are:

  • A one-year lookback window to pursue prior cases that already passed the filing deadline.
  • You can initiate a civil lawsuit until the age of 55.
  • You can pursue criminal charges against abusers and liable institutions until you turn 28 years old.
  • A judicial training requirement for crimes associated with sexual abuse involving minors has been put in place.
  • Notice of claim is no longer necessary for cases against sexual offenders where the victim was a minor.

The lookback window was set to expire on August 14, 2020. However, the Covid-19 pandemic caused issues within the court system, leading to an extension of the deadline. Child sex abuse survivors were given until January 14, 2021 to begin their cases.

Additional Time to File Lawsuits With Another Deadline Extension

The ongoing pandemic created many challenges for seeking criminal and civil penalties under the Child Victims Act. Filing a lawsuit became more complicated, with many courthouses closing or delaying cases already on the docket. Unfortunately, this caused stress for many sex abuse survivors who faced uncertainties about whether they would ever see their day in court.

Governor Cuomo wanted to ensure those affected by the coronavirus would have adequate time to retain a lawyer and prepare their cases before the lookback window ended. Many people lost their jobs and faced difficulties receiving unemployment benefits. Without a source of income, hiring a lawyer is no longer an option for many sex abuse survivors. Cuomo decided to sign legislation providing another extension to the Child Victims Act deadline. Survivors and their families now have until August 14, 2021 to file their civil lawsuits.

Organizations Facing Allegations of Sexual abuse

Sex abusers are not the only ones named in civil lawsuits. Institutions and organizations are also battling legal ramifications for allowing sexual abuse to occur and covering up these incidents. The Children’s Home of Poughkeepsie was recently named in a lawsuit claiming that a boy repeatedly endured sexual abuse from 2004 to 2008 when he was between the ages of 12 and 16 years old.

According to documents filed with the Dutchess County Supreme Court, administrator Helen Fahy allegedly forced the victim to engage in intercourse and oral sex in her office and home at least once a week. She is also a registered sex offender, having served an 18-month prison sentence for raping a minor under 17. The lawsuit accuses the Children’s Home of Poughkeepsie of negligently employing, supervising, and retaining employees they knew were sexually abusing residents.

Another recently filed lawsuit accuses Simon Watts, a former Queens Jackie Robinson elementary school teacher, of sexually abusing an 8-year-old girl from 2007 to 2009. Court documents named Watts, the Department of Education, and the city as defendants in this case. According to the victim’s court filing, the school and city negligently hired, trained, and supervised Watts. They are also liable for keeping him on staff, allowing him access to students.

Watts is currently serving a prison sentence of 35 years after being convicted in June 2013 of sexually abusing four girls and one boy who were all between 8 and 9 years old at the time of the offenses. Three other victims also filed lawsuits against him, the school’s principal, and the Department of Education upon his conviction. In 2018, another former student won a $16 million judgment against the City of Queens for the sexual abuse he endured at the elementary school when he was just eight years old.

Sex Abuse Allegations Against Priests Continue to Rise

According to The New York Times, almost one-third of cases brought under the Child Victims Act involve religious orders against priests. Timothy Schlenz, who was 8 when he spent his Saturdays at a Manhattan church for tutoring sessions, says he was the victim of sexual abuse by Rev. Carleton P. Jones. Court documents allege that Jones groomed Schlenz for a period, eventually molesting him.

At the time, the priest told the 8-year-old boy that the acts he initiated were to check for cancer. However, as an adult, Schlenz realized what really happened and filed a lawsuit in August 2019, naming Father Jones and the Dominican Friars Province of Saint Joseph as defendants in the case.

This is just one of the countless lawsuits against New York churches. With many dioceses facing financial hardships due to the cost of litigation, some were forced to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The dioceses of Rochester, Long Island Rockville Centre, Buffalo, and Syracuse filed bankruptcy to deal with all sex abuse survivors as one class and alleviate some of the challenges they’ve had to deal with.

Hach & Rose, LLP Can Be Your Advocate

The New York City personal injury lawyers of Hach & Rose, LLP will fight by your side from start to finish of your case. We’ve been representing those who have suffered the consequences of others’ wrongdoings for 20 years. With over 100 years of combined legal experience, our dedicated and compassionate team can help you hold your abuser liable for the harm they caused.

Hach & Rose, LLP understands that no amount of money can change the past or make up for the trauma you went through at the hands of your abuser. However, we hope it can provide some financial relief and compensate for the expenses you incurred while treating your physical or emotional injuries. Our New York City personal injury lawyers are ready to take your call and pursue the justice you rightfully deserve.

If you or a loved one was the victim of child sexual abuse, call Hach & Rose, LLP at (212) 779-0057 right now. We can meet with you for a free consultation to discuss your case and determine the available legal options.

Let Human Trafficking Victims Pursue Happiness

Posted on Wednesday, February 17th, 2021 at 6:00 pm    

Human trafficking is incredibly pervasive, lurking in every community and preying on the vulnerable. In recent years there has been a movement to bring trafficking out in the open and make more people aware of what is happening right in their neighborhoods. The more people whose eyes are opened to these crimes, the better we can all protect the victims and prevent future damage.

Victims of human trafficking are subjected to many horrors. After they’ve escaped from their abuser, it will take many years of recovery to heal from the trauma of their experiences. Unfortunately, psychological and physical trauma are not the only lingering effects of human trafficking. One of the most difficult issues for survivors is dealing with the criminal records they develop while being trafficked. Crime and trafficking go hand in hand, and victims are often forced to become sex workers, carry drugs, commit theft, and more, all while they were under the control of their abuser without the ability to refuse. The arresting officers and the court systems aren’t nuanced enough to navigate the complicated dynamics of trafficking, and slap victims with harsh penalties and records for crimes they were forced to commit. Trafficking survivors have difficulty living their lives because these records can prevent them from obtaining jobs and housing.

The pursuit of justice for human trafficking victims, as well as awareness campaigns about the issue, have done some good. Many state lawmakers have passed criminal record relief laws that allow for survivors to have records connected to their trafficking expunged or sealed. But not all states are equal; in some, the eligibility is too restrictive to do any good, and in others the process is so difficult that it prevents anyone from utilizing it. Even when a victim is able to go through the process, they can become traumatized. One victim said that for every charge she wanted to get expunged she had to explain in great detail how her abuser influenced this crime, causing her to relive her trafficking experience. “At one time I thought the hardest thing to get away from [my trafficker], until I was away from him, and I was like, that’s not the hardest part,” said the victim. “The hardest part is trying to rebuild your life afterwards.” Other victims struggle with the expense of having their records expunged. For each petition the victim files, they must pay hundreds of dollars in filing fees. It some cases, the victim is able to work with a nonprofit who can financially support trafficking victims with these fees, but not every victim has access to such an organization.

Lawmakers must push to make these criminal record relief laws more accessible to victims of human trafficking. They must understand the painful and difficult cards that survivors have already been dealt and do their best to make their futures brighter. Recently the Trafficking Survivors Relief Act was introduced to Congress by U.S. Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., and Rob Portman, R-Ohio, but it never reached the voting stage. Hopefully further efforts will be made to support survivors.

If you or someone you know is a victim of human trafficking, we urge you to seek assistance. Hach & Rose, LLP understands how traumatic these experiences are and will handle your situation with the utmost care. To find out more about how we can help, schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced human trafficking attorneys at (212) 779-0057.

Epstein Victims’ Compensation Fund Continues to Accept Claims

Posted on Monday, February 1st, 2021 at 10:33 pm    

For the past six months, a fund has been in operation to compensate survivors of abuse perpetrated by Jeffrey Epstein. The Epstein Victims’ Compensation Program, which was established by executors of the Epstein estate, opened officially on June 25, 2020. The program will continue to accept claims from Epstein’s victims through March 2021.

According to the New York Times, the compensation fund has already doled out over $30 million to survivors this year. The program has received significantly more claims than were expected – over 100 claims in total. This comes with the expectation that claims will continue to roll in over the coming three months.

When Epstein died by suicide in jail after he was arrested in 2019, his fortune was valued at approximately $600 million. Now, it is estimated to sit at about $400 million.

This enormous sum of money should be divided among the many women and children who survived Epstein’s extensive abuse, trafficking, and exploitation. Thankfully, the Epstein estate and related parties have shown recognition of this fact by creating the official compensation fund.

The fund offers a crucial, potentially expedited chance at justice for many people. That being said, submitting a claim to the Epstein Victims’ Compensation Program may not be the best possible route to recovery for all who experienced Epstein’s abuse. Some survivors may prefer to pursue a lawsuit and have their stories heard in court.

Both the compensation fund and the recent New York Child Victims Act can provide a path toward healing for those abused by Epstein. Each of these options has unique merits that individual survivors may take into consideration.

Filing a Claim With the Epstein Victims’ Compensation Program

By filing a claim with the Epstein compensation fund, survivors of Epstein’s abuse can seek compensation quietly and without the publicity that may accompany a lawsuit. This process may also prove quicker than a lawsuit.

Rather than going to court (or reaching a settlement out of court), claimants to the fund need only interact with the program’s administrator. The administrator, Jordana Feldman, processes, evaluates, and reaches a decision about all claims submitted to the program.

In her role as administrator, Feldman acts independently of the Epstein estate. The estate does not have the power to evaluate claims and has agreed to distribute compensation in accordance with the administrator’s determinations.

Furthermore, the Epstein Victims’ Compensation program promises strict confidentiality for all claimants. This includes confidentiality from members of the Epstein estate.

Feldman has told the New York Times that it takes about 60 days to review each claim. Within this period, claimants participate in an interview over video-chat to share their experience with her.

“[The interview] gives the victims an opportunity to tell their story, and it gives me an opportunity to get to know them in a way that can’t be fully captured in a paper file,” Feldman said to the Times.

According to Feldman, claimants may receive offers of compensation ranging from thousands to millions of dollars. Upon receiving an offer from the program, the survivor who filed the claim may then choose to accept or deny the compensation. If the offered amount seems fair and satisfactory, the survivor may decide to accept it – although this is a decision that should be made with careful consideration.

It is important to note that claimants who accept compensation from the fund in turn waive their rights to file individual lawsuits in the future. In order to receive payment, each claimant must sign a release that agrees not to litigate against the Epstein estate or “related entities and individuals.”

Pursuing a Lawsuit Under the New York Child Victims Act

Whereas the anonymity and expediency of the victims’ compensation fund may appeal to some survivors of Epstein’s abuse, others may feel that the New York legal system better serves their needs.

Those who suffered exploitation, trafficking, or abuse from Epstein as minors can now seek justice through the New York Child Victims Act (CVA).

The CVA, which took effect in August of 2019, lengthened the statute of limitations for victims of child sex abuse. Now, survivors have until the age of 55 to take civil action against their abusers and related parties. (The previous age limit for child sex abuse survivors to file a lawsuit was 23.)

Critically for those abused by Epstein, the CVA also opened up a limited “look-back” window for all survivors of child sexual abuse to pursue lawsuits. The look-back window is set to last until August 14, 2021, exactly two years after it opened.

During this look-back period, anyone may file a child sex abuse suit, even if their case had expired under the previous statute of limitations. This means that survivors of Epstein’s abuse who were unable to pursue a lawsuit by the age of 23 can now do so.

Many women and children experienced intimidation, trauma, or a mix of factors that prevented them from taking civil action against Epstein and his affiliates earlier in life. For these people, the New York CVA provides a new chance at justice.

Hach & Rose, LLP Stands With Survivors of Epstein’s Abuse

Jeffrey Epstein’s horrific crimes have been well-documented. Even in the wake of Epstein’s death in 2019, there is no question that each one of his victims deserves justice from the Epstein estate and Epstein’s affiliates.

At Hach & Rose, LLP, we understand that no amount of financial compensation can undo Epstein’s terrible actions. Compensation can, however, help you take necessary steps toward recovery and healing. The money you may receive, whether through a lawsuit or the victims’ compensation fund, can cover medical bills, mental health services, and more so that you can turn a new page in your life.

Our experienced child sex abuse lawyers can listen to your story and help you decide whether the compensation fund or a lawsuit makes the most sense in your situation. Whichever route you choose, we will bring the utmost compassion and skill to your case to help you secure fair compensation for what you’ve endured. We also have the extensive experience in this field that high-profile abuse cases demand.

To schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys, call (212) 779-0057 or fill out our contact form.

Rampant Sexual Abuse in the Foster Care System

Posted on Friday, January 29th, 2021 at 3:46 pm    

The foster care system was created to protect vulnerable children and place them in an environment where they can be nurtured and cared for. Unfortunately, the system has seen a serious problem with sexual abuse for many years, and there are no signs of stopping. Children are entitled to a safe and healthy home when they are placed with a foster family, and when that trust is violated action must be taken.

Last year there were 92 reported allegations by children in foster care in Florida. Only 6 were verified by the state. According to a John Hopkins University study, children in foster care are four times more likely to be sexually abused than children, not in foster care. Further, children in group homes are 28 times more likely to be abused than children placed with individual families. Even more concerning, more than half of child sex trafficking victims that were rescued by FBI raids were children that had been placed in foster care or group homes. Not only are vulnerable children placed in foster care homes with predators, but traffickers are also deliberately targeting foster children. They know that children in foster care are vulnerable and that their guardians aren’t necessarily diligent about protecting them from danger.

Many of the issues that the foster care system is plagued with stem from a lack of proper vetting. Foster care families are not examined thoroughly enough, nor are staff members who run group homes. After children are placed, visits are not conducted with enough frequency, or the visits are not comprehensive enough to catch potential warning signs. At the heart of all of this are overworked social workers whose caseloads are far too large for one person to handle. Something is bound to fall through the cracks, and often that puts a child at serious risk.

No child deserves to grow up in an environment of fear and abuse. If you or a loved one has suffered sexual trauma while placed with a foster family or in a group home, we urge you to contact us now. It is not too late to hold your abuser accountable. The compassionate attorneys at Hach & Rose will fight for the justice you deserve. Contact us today to receive a free and confidential case review.

Two Plaintiffs Seek Justice For Abuse by Former High School Teacher

Posted on Monday, January 25th, 2021 at 9:41 pm    

Nearly 40 years after leaving high school, two anonymous plaintiffs are seeking justice for the sexual abuse they allegedly endured from a biology teacher.

The initial lawsuit, which was filed in Ulster County in May, accused William Dedrick of inflicting sexual violence on a student at Kingston High School in the early 1980s. In addition to Dedrick (who served as a teacher and later a school administrator for a total of more than 30 years), the lawsuit also names the Kingston City School District as a defendant. This was done on the basis that the school district either knew or should have known about the abuse Dedrick perpetrated.

Now, a second plaintiff has joined the case against Dedrick and the Kingston school district. In mid-December, this new plaintiff’s complaint was added as an amendment to the existing lawsuit.

Both plaintiffs, referred to as John Doe and John Doe II in the suit, have disturbing sets of accusations. According to the lawsuit, John Doe was sexually abused by Dedrick many times between the years of 1982 and 1984. Furthermore, the suit states, Dedrick inflicted repeated abuse upon John Doe II in 1984. Instances of the alleged abuse occurred at Dedrick’s apartment as well as in the high school’s multimedia office.

As for the Kingston City School District, the lawsuit contends that district members knew about Dedrick’s abuse of students. It appears that teachers and administrators at the high school were aware (or at least heard extensive rumors) that Dedrick had the deplorable habit of inviting students to his home, offering them alcohol, and showing them pornography.

John Doe and John Doe II have both experienced severe psychological distress since they were allegedly abused in high school. The lawsuit describes the anxiety, panic attacks, depression, and suicidal thoughts that the plaintiffs have struggled with. In the case of John Doe II, this extreme mental and emotional distress led to the loss of his job as a public servant, which then caused him serious financial troubles.

Just two years ago, John Doe and John Doe II would not have been able to seek compensation from Dedrick and the school district for all the harm they have suffered. This is because, prior to 2019, survivors of child sex abuse in New York were barred from taking civil action against their abuser once they passed the age of 23.

Luckily, more recent legislation has recognized the need to expand this once-restrictive statute of limitations. Now, thanks to the New York Child Victims Act, survivors like John Doe and John Doe II have a new chance to pursue justice.

Child Victims Act Makes Justice Possible for Many

The New York Child Victims Act went into effect on August 14, 2019. Under this new law, survivors of child sexual abuse can bring civil cases against their abusers until they (the survivors) are 55 years old.

Moreover, the Child Victims Act opened up a “look-back” window to allow survivors of any age to seek justice. During the look-back period (which has recently been extended to last until August 14, 2021), all survivors of child sex abuse may file civil suits, regardless of their age or when the abuse happened. This provides a temporary opportunity for those who were previously excluded from taking legal action to now pursue compensation.

The Child Victims Act represents a much-needed change in how the New York legal system supports survivors. For the decades that preceded the passage of this bill in New York, John Doe and John Doe II could not file a civil suit against their shared abuser of William Dedrick. They, along with many other survivors of child sex abuse, aged out of the option to file such a lawsuit when they turned just 24.

The lengthening of the statute of limitations to the age of 55 is a huge step forward for survivors and their advocates. For many people who live through sexual abuse as children, it can take decades to come forward and share their experience. In fact, evidence suggests that the median age at which survivors disclose to others is 52 years old.

There are a number of reasons that child sex abuse survivors may tend to disclose later in life. For one thing, some people only recognize that they were abused years after the fact. From that point, processing the trauma is often a long and difficult process. Simply telling your loved ones about your abuse – not to mention filing a lawsuit against the abuser – takes an enormous amount of courage.

Hach & Rose, LLP Stands With Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse

The experience of abuse and the damage it can cause to a person’s health, both physical and psychological, are things that no one should have to live through. Child sexual abuse comes in many insidious forms and can inflict varying degrees of trauma. The effects of this crime can last well into a survivor’s adulthood, and often last a lifetime.

If you or someone you love has experienced child sex abuse, even if it was many years ago, know that you still have options to pursue justice. Because of the New York Child Victims Act, you may be able to seek compensation from your abuser or negligent third parties through a civil suit. While money can’t heal the pain of what happened to you, it can help you achieve financial stability and continue down the road to recovery. You may receive compensation for medical bills, lost wages, mental anguish, and more.

Hach & Rose, LLP stands firmly alongside those who have experienced child sex abuse, and is proud to advocate for justice for these survivors. Our team of compassionate and skilled attorneys is ready to fight for the compensation you deserve. No matter when or in what form your abuse occurred, we will listen to your story and help you understand the paths that lie before you.

Do not hesitate to find the help you need during this time. To schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced sexual abuse attorneys, call (212) 779-0057 today.

Virtual Schooling During Pandemic Gives Predators Access to Children; Hach & Rose Sues Omegle

Posted on Tuesday, December 22nd, 2020 at 2:34 pm    

Keeping your children safe online has never been simple, especially in our modern age. But when the country was forced to go into quarantine during the Covid-19 pandemic, the internet suddenly became a much larger part of our lives. Perhaps normally your child may have been permitted to one hour of supervised computer time per day, but these rules cannot apply when your child’s internet usage has suddenly increased to a full day of classes. Predators cannot be allowed access to unsuspecting children. Unfortunately, many social networking sites are not taking enforceable precautions, which has led to irreparable damage.

Our client, an 11-year-old girl, was provided with a Chromebook from her school in order to attend classes virtually during the pandemic. She used the laptop to access Omegle, which she had never visited previously. Omegle is a video chatting service which randomly pairs up users for a conversation. First, she was paired with a group of adolescents. After ending that chat and beginning a new conversation, our client encountered a black screen. Text began to appear, alleging that the stranger knew our client’s location and threatening to hack the devices in our client’s home. The stranger told our client that she had to remove all of her clothing in front of the camera and follow their instructions.

The damage of this single video chat on Omegle is traumatizing and permanent. Our client was sexually abused and forced to create a pornographic video which could be distributed across the globe. The criminal investigation into this horrible crime has been stalled because Omegle does not track their users, which enables predators to continue abusing innocent victims. Omegle did not seek verifiable parental consent, which meant that our client had no idea what danger she was in. Omegle continues to provide a vehicle with which pedophiles can access unsuspecting victims every day.

If you or a loved one have been victimized by Omegle or another social networking site, please contact our firm now. These crimes could have easily been prevented, and these websites must be held accountable for putting minors in danger. Contact our team today at Hach & Rose, LLP for your free and confidential case review.

New Lawsuits Filed Under the New York Child Victims Act

Posted on Wednesday, December 16th, 2020 at 6:32 pm    

Since New York Governor Andrew Cuomo passed the Child Victims Act on February 14, 2019, thousands of individuals in the country have filed lawsuits against their abusers.

This legislation allows sexual abuse survivors to pursue civil and criminal action and receive the justice they deserve. Child sexual abuse is a problem that has been ignored for decades. Most offenders haven’t faced the legal ramifications of their actions because of the short statutes of limitations in New York.

Governor Cuomo said this legislation extending the statute of limitations provides the opportunity to hold sexual offenders accountable and get them off the streets.

Several lawsuits filed this year show that the change is already yielding results.

Lawsuit Filed Against Yonkers Middle School Teacher

One of the most recent lawsuits filed under the Child Victims Act was by John Fuoco of Westchester. In the last week of October, he filed a lawsuit alleging that his shop teacher Daniel Vassallo sexually abused him when he was in seventh and eighth grade.

Fuoco attended Emerson Middle School, now called Cross Hill Academy, in the 1970s. According to court documents, Vassello invited male students to gatherings at his home and encouraged them to drink alcohol and smoke marijuana. When Fuoco was in the seventh grade, he said he attended those gatherings. When he was alone with his teacher, he said he was forced to perform sexual acts. He also stated that Vassello took him out for dinner and gave him money as an incentive to come back.

The abuse occurred about a dozen times over two years, Fuoco said. He also thinks the other boys who attended the gatherings were abused. Although Yonkers Public School District admitted that they aware of the gatherings at the teacher’s home, they did not want to comment about the allegations or the ongoing case.

Lawsuits Against Rabbi Interrupted by COVID-19 Death

Multiple individuals accused Rabbi Joel Kolko of molesting them about 50 years ago when they were students at Yeshiva Torah Teminah in Brooklyn. Two of those students were six years old at the time.

The school agreed to settle for a total of $2.1 million. However, the abuse survivors stopped receiving payments from the settlement, and their lawyers had to file a judgment for the $1 million still owed to them.

After the Child Victims Act passed, more people filed lawsuits against Kolko for sexual assault while they were students. According to these lawsuits, the yeshiva covered up multiple allegations of pedophilia and even threatened the victims’ families when they complained about the sexual offenses.

The rabbi was diagnosed with COVID-19 while he was visiting Israel. According to the school’s attorney Avi Moskowitz, he was on a ventilator and ultimately died from the virus. There are still three lawsuits pending. With Kolko’s death, it’s unclear how these cases will end. However, one of the plaintiff’s lawyers says he’s positive that they will prove what happened and the sexual abuse survivors will receive the justice they deserve.

Details on the Extended Window for NY Sex Abuse Victims

If you want to file a civil lawsuit in New York, you must adhere to a three-year statute of limitations, which means you only have three years from the abuse date to seek monetary compensation. If you want to pursue criminal charges, there’s a five-year statute of limitations you must follow. That isn’t much time to find an experienced attorney, initiate a case, and collect all the necessary evidence to prove your claim — especially if the abuse occurred when you were a child.

Many people don’t see their day in court because they feel ashamed about what happened to them or aren’t ready to talk about their experience. By the time they can face their abuser, the deadline has already passed.

The provisions included in the Child Victims Act are as follows:

  • One-year lookback window expiring on August 14, 2020, to pursue legal action for crimes that already reached the state’s statute of limitations
  • File a civil lawsuit before turning 55 years old
  • Survivors can press charges for felony offenses until they turn 28-years old
  • Survivors can press charges for misdemeanor offenses until they turn 25-years old
  • File civil claims against private and public institutions

Coronavirus Pandemic Leads to Extensions for Lookback Window

After COVID-19, many states implemented quarantine orders and restrictions on the public.

At the beginning of the pandemic, courthouses throughout New York closed, and many stopped accepting new cases. This significantly impacted those given a second chance of pursuing lawsuits and criminal cases against sex abusers. With court proceedings coming to a halt, Governor Cuomo decided it was necessary to extend the lookback window to January 14, 2021.

COVID-19 is still here, and many people lost precious time retaining legal representation and initiating their claims. Cuomo and state legislators decided they needed to push back the deadline yet again. Passage of a new bill on August 3 extended the lookback window to August 14, 2021. This provides more time for individuals who were sexually abused as children to file lawsuits and face their abusers in court.

Contact Hach & Rose, LLP Today

If you or a loved one is a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, Hach & Rose, LLP is here to help. Your abuser should have to answer for their actions. Our dedicated team will thoroughly review your case to determine the best course of action. We have the resources to obtain relevant evidence and prove your allegations.

At Hach & Rose, LLP, we have more than 30 years of experience pursuing complex cases and will work hard to reach a positive outcome for you.

You have suffered long enough. We will fight by your side every day of your case to ensure you’re able to move forward with your life. To find out more about our legal services and how we can help you with your case, call (212) 779-0057. We will be happy to meet you for a free consultation.

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