Second Chance for Victims of Child Sex Abuse Upheld

Posted on Friday, September 4th, 2020 at 2:22 am    

Usually, in order to pursue legal action against another party, there are statutes of limitations victims must follow. In New York, these strict deadlines apply to civil lawsuits against sex abusers. Our legislators recognized and remedied an important problem with this system.

Unfortunately, those deadlines don’t allow child sex abuse victims to seek accountability years or decades later. Under the Child Victims Act, survivors have an extended window to sue their abuser in the civil court system for compensation.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo first signed the law in January 2019, giving child sex abuse victims a full year to file a lawsuit, regardless of the statute of limitations. When the Covid-19 pandemic began, he signed legislation to push back the deadline to January 2021. He recently signed another extension that allows survivors of child sex abuse to pursue legal action until August 14, 2021.

Even better, the courts have upheld victims’ right to seek compensation from their abusers. If you were abused as a child, you have time to decide if legal action is right for you.

What Is the Child Victims Act?

The Child Victims Act allows victims to seek civil action against their abusers for crimes against them as minors. Even if the statute of limitations passed, you could hold individuals and institutions responsible for their involvement in the sexual abuse you suffered as a child.

Under this act:

  • The amount of time to hold abusers accountable for their criminal acts increases;
  • Victims can file a civil lawsuit for child sex abuse until they turn 55 years old;
  • There’s a lookback window to begin legal action against a sex abuser for the crimes they committed regardless of the statute of limitations;
  • It’s not a requirement to file a Notice of Claim for any sexual offenses an adult committed against a minor;
  • The Office of Court Administration can implement the rules and regulations to adjudicate revived actions promptly;
  • There’s an extended statute of limitations for felony sex crimes until the victim turns 28 years old.

The effects of child sexual abuse can last a lifetime. Survivors may spend decades finding the support they need to trust anyone again.

For many, even admitting what they went through is difficult. It could take a lifetime to feel ready, and by then, it could be too late. It’s not. The Child Victims Act gives your time to find a lawyer, build a case, and bring your abuser to court.

New York Diocese Claims the Act is Unconstitutional

According to Newsday, the Diocese of Rockville Centre filed a lawsuit claiming the Child Victims Act violates their rights to due process under the state’s constitution.

According to a spokesman for the diocese, plaintiffs should have pursued legal action within the statutes of limitations for sex crimes. Under the act, child sex abuse victims now have the opportunity to file civil lawsuits far past the usual deadlines.

In May 2020, a judge rejected their lawsuit and ruled that the act does not violate any rights to due process. The diocese set up an independent reconciliation and compensation program to provide fair compensation to sex abuse victims. Since August 2019, 370 people have filed claims with the program, and 277 claimants received a combined $50 million in financial settlements.

The diocese is currently trying to navigate bankruptcy proceedings. They asked that the federal court cease all sex abuse cases against members of the clergy during this period. They said it’s a necessary request because of litigation and appeals costs. In a victory for victim’s rights advocates, the Nassau County Supreme Court denied their request.

Unfortunately, if the diocese does file for bankruptcy, it may prevent survivors from getting their day in court. According to Buffalo News, one abuse survivor, Kevin Koscielniak, is attempting to change bankruptcy laws. He doesn’t think non-profit organizations should have the right to use federal bankruptcy procedures. He also believes lawmakers should get dispense with the criminal statute of limitations entirely.

Lawsuits Are Pending Against a Range of Institutions Throughout New York

The New York Post reports that a new lawsuit was filed with the Manhattan Supreme Court. It alleges that Bishop John Jenik, who oversaw after-school programs at Our Lady of Refuge, and Paul Gruber, another employee, sexually abused their students. Allegedly, Jenik also trafficked a 14-year-old boy to Gruber, knowing about prior instances of abuse.

In the 1980s, a judge convicted Gruber of sexual abuse after the parents of another victim reported him. Jenik tried to interfere with the police investigation by using intimidation tactics to scare the kids into staying quiet. He resigned in 2018 after another allegation surfaced, but maintained his innocence.

According to the Washington Post, Alice Weiss-Russell filed a lawsuit against Girl Scouts of the USA for the sexual abuse she endured in the 1980s when she was only 11 years old. According to the documents, her troop leader’s husband abused her in the bathroom during scout meetings. She alleges that the organization didn’t protect her, and the misconduct continued even after the trooper leader found out about what her husband was doing.

According to the Daily Mail, three women are pursuing legal action against Robert Rusch, a former private school teacher at the Woodard School in Brooklyn. They claim that he sexually abused them multiple times and raped two of them between the late 1960s and early 1970s when they were just 12 years old.

In court filings, they claim other children were also the victims of sexual abuse and assault, and school officials were aware of it. When one of the parents reported Rusch’s behavior, the school fired him but didn’t file a police report in order to maintain their reputation.

Contact Us for Help With Your Case

Sexual abuse is illegal, immoral, and too common. You have the right to demand compensation from your abuser and their employers.

At Hach & Rose, LLP, we care about our clients. When you hire us, we’ll fight to hold your abuser accountable for their actions.

We want to help you move forward with your life with peace of mind. You can depend on us to remain by your side throughout your case and provide the support you need.

Under the Child Victims Act, you can finally bring the person responsible for the trauma you endured as a child to court. Our legal team has the experience, resources, and knowledge to make people pay for their crimes. To schedule your free consultation, call us at 646-685-8045.

New York Child Victims Act Extended

Posted on Tuesday, August 25th, 2020 at 2:12 am    

Extended New York Child Victims Act Protects the Rights of Child Abuse Survivors

In 2019, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed an act that gives child abuse victims one year to pursue legal action against their attacker. Even if the statute of limitations for the alleged crime they suffered already passed, they have additional time to file a civil lawsuit.

The New York Child Victims Act was set to expire this month, but the governor signed an order to push the deadline back until January 2021 during the Covid-19 pandemic. Now, the new legislation gives abuse victims until August 14, 2021 to pursue legal action.

What Is the Child Victims Act?

The three main elements of the Child Victims Act include:

  • A one-year lookback window to file a lawsuit regardless of when the abuse happened;
  • Individuals who were the victims of sexual abuse as children can pursue legal action against their abuser and any entities involved until they turn 55 years of age; and
  • The statute of limitations is extended for felony sex crimes until the victim turns 28 years old.

Unfortunately, history has shown that many victims of child sex abuse are afraid to come forward. The lawmakers behind this act recognized the need for an extended deadline to allow victims to reach maturity and fully process the experiences they suffered.

Some people aren’t ready to confront their abuser until years or decades later. This deadline extension gives them time to come to terms with the legal process, prepare for litigation, and find a lawyer, like ours at Hach & Rose, LLP.

Some New Yorkers aren’t even aware of this act. Child abuse survivors might think they lost their chance to file a lawsuit because the statute of limitations passed a long time ago. They don’t realize this new act gives them a second chance to bring their abuser to justice. With the deadline now extended to August of 2021, more people will have the opportunity to pursue compensation.

Catholic Churches Face Allegations of Child Abuse

Since the passage of the Child Victims Act, dioceses in New York faced hundreds of lawsuits. Victims accuse priests and other church members of abuse. Some victims claim that the institutions did nothing to prevent it from happening or stop it once discovered.

According to North Country Public Radio, the following lawsuits are pending against Catholic dioceses throughout New York:

  • Monsignor Joseph F. Luker accused of sexually abusing a minor in 1971 or 1972 at St. Peter, Lowville
  • Father Joseph W. Elliott accused of sexually abusing a minor between 1985 and 1988 at St. Mary, Potsdam and St. Michael, Parishville
  • Father Donald E. Seguin accused of sexually abusing a minor in 1961 at Sacred Heart, Crown Point
  • Monsignor F. Gordon Coseo accused of sexually abusing a minor at Notre Dame from 1971 to 1976, Malone
  • Father Liam O’Doherty now accused of sexual abuse as far back as 1996 after an indictment in 1979 for sexual abuse at St. Ann, St. Regis Falls

Pending Lawsuits Under the Child Victims Act

According to Buffalo News, Trent Hariaczyi, a former teacher at Smallwood Elementary School in Amherst, New York, pleaded guilty to possession of child pornography in 2005. Now, he faces allegations of molesting a student between 1994 and 2000.

Now in his 30s, the victim filed a lawsuit against Hariaczyi and alleges that the Amherst Central School District allowed the abuse to occur.

NNY360 reports that the Boy Scouts of America continue to receive lawsuits for their involvement in sexual abuse against minors. One came from five men who alleged they were victims of sexual abuse between 1960 and 1985 by a troop leader. According to the victims, they notified another troop leader of the molestation in 1969, but no legal action was taken.

In another lawsuit reported by the Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin, a former volunteer at the Binghamton YMCA allegedly victimized a 15-year-old boy. According to a complaint filed with the Supreme Court in Broome County, Michael Gregg began grooming the boy in 1986 by inviting him to his house to eat pizza and play video games. Gregg allegedly raped the boy during one of those visits and continued the abuse several times a week for a whole year.

Recent Settlements Give Hope to Child Sex Abuse Survivors

Both institutions and individuals have faced lawsuits since the state legislature passed the Child Victims Act in January 2019. Now, judges are reaching verdicts in many of those cases. One of them involved Rabbi Daniel Greer.

According to court documents reported by the AP, Greer sexually abused a teenage boy while he attended a Yeshiva in Connecticut. Eliyahu Mirlis, who is now 32 years old, claimed that the Rabbi abused him in 2002 and 2003. In March 2020, a federal jury awarded him $15 million in compensatory damages, and the judge added $5 million in punitive damages.

The New York Times reports that four boys were the victims of sexual abuse by a director and teacher at a Brooklyn parish. The abuse happened inside the church and the abuser’s apartment for several years, while the boys were between eight and twelve years old. After filing a lawsuit, they received a combined $27,500,000 settlement from the Diocese of Brooklyn and Queens.

Hach & Rose, LLP is Ready to Fight for You

At Hach & Rose, LLP, we understand the devastating effects of sexual abuse. It’s a traumatic experience that leads to lifelong emotional pain.

You deserve financial compensation for the suffering you endured. We’ll help you hold your abusers accountable so that they face the consequences of their actions.

You don’t have to go through this alone. We’ll be by your side to guide you through the legal process and provide the support you need. We believe in seeking a measure of justice for our clients by helping them stand up to their abusers. When you hire us, we’ll use aggressive tactics to protect your rights and reach a favorable settlement or judgment.

Our team of lawyers has years of experience in New York courts that we’ll use to build a strong case. Under the New York Child Victims Act, you have time to come forward and bring legal action against your abuser. We’ll work diligently to obtain sufficient evidence and prove you sustained significant harm from the abuse you experienced as a child.

To find out more about our legal services or schedule your free consultation, call us at 646-685-8045 today. We can review the details of your abuse to determine the best legal strategy to bring the full measure of the law against the abuser who hurt you.

Hillary Nappi quoted in Poughkeepsie Journal

Posted on Monday, August 17th, 2020 at 8:08 pm    

Child Victims Act lawyer Hillary M. Nappi of Hach & Rose, LLP was quoted in a news article about victims of sexual abuse in New York. The article was published on August 11, 2020 in the Poughkeepsie Journal.

Click here to read the article.

Hach & Rose, LLP sponsors “Breaking the Silence” benefit

Posted on Wednesday, August 5th, 2020 at 7:28 pm    

Hach & Rose, LLP is a proud sponsor of “Breaking the Silence,” a five-part digital benefit event featuring motivational speaker Clark Fredericks. For more information, click the image below.

Former Pastor Arrested on Sex Crime Accusations

Posted on Monday, August 3rd, 2020 at 9:18 pm    

The former pastor of Hyde Park Baptist Church has been arrested on sex crime allegations. Jonathan Alan Weaver is accused of two counts of sexual assault and battery on a former child parishioner. A civil lawsuit has also been filed under the Child Victims Act.

Hach & Rose, LLP‘s Hillary Nappi is representing the victim. To read more about the case, click here.

Two former students say they were sexually abused by three school employees

Posted on Friday, July 17th, 2020 at 3:30 pm    

Two former students at the Youth Consultation Services Education Center in Fort Lee claim they were sexually abused by three school employees, who would allegedly corner them in the quiet room, a room where students who acted out were sent to cool down, according to the lawsuits filed late last month by attorney John Blyth.

Click here to read the article.

Podcast | The Trauma Recovery Podcast

Posted on Wednesday, July 15th, 2020 at 10:51 pm    

Hillary Nappi, Hach & Rose LLP and Ken Belson, The New York Times As featured on: http://www.hwtpradio.com/

Smithtown Gospel Tabernacle abuse victim comes forward

Posted on Monday, July 6th, 2020 at 4:13 pm    

by Hillary Nappi

Since its enactment in February 2019, the Child Victims Act has produced an overwhelming response: hundreds of survivors of childhood sexual abuse have now come forward and are ready to have their voices heard. These survivors are of both genders, all races, live in all parts of New York state, and are of all socio-economic backgrounds. What they share is that they were sexually abused and assaulted as children, and at the time that the crimes occurred lacked the context for their abuse and the language and power to speak up for themselves.

These survivors, including our client, now have the opportunity to come forward and seek justice for the illegal, heinous, and immoral acts that were forced upon them. That is the case with the suit against the Smithtown Gospel Tabernacle and Camp Cherith in the Adirondacks. Our client finally reached a point in her life where she was able to speak up for herself and report the crimes that were committed against her.

As stated in her complaint, our client was only five years old when she was sexually abused and assaulted by Ron Braaten, a Youth Minister that was employed by the Smithtown Gospel Tabernacle. The first attacks occurred on property owned, operated, and controlled by Smithtown Gospel Tabernacle and were provided to Braaten for his exclusive use as a benefit of his employment. Braaten lived in the house with his family. Our client first met Braaten when she was in kindergarten, while assigned to the same class as his daughter. The girls became friends and would often play together in and out of school. However, playdates at the Braaten house were not normal. Braaten would make our client sit on his lap, as he rubbed her stomach over her clothes, which eventually morphed into Braaten sexually abusing our client.

Our client was fearful and uncomfortable every time she was around Braaten but as a Christian member of the Tabernacle, she was taught that Braaten was a “good man.” Braaten and his wife preached morality in the community, pushing the mission of the Smithtown Gospel Tabernacle, all the while masking his pedophilic tendencies. Morality is something that Braaten lacked and that is evident in the allegations filed in the complaint. After our client was sexually assaulted and abused, Smithtown Gospel Tabernacle continued to support Braaten’s missions in South America and he had continued access to other children. Our brave client came forward and reported her abuse, but Braaten remains outside of the United States.

As word of our Plaintiff’s lawsuit spread, our client has found more support in her community than she thought possible. If you or someone you know was abused by Ron Braaten, contact our law firm.

At Hach & Rose, LLP, we are committed to achieving the justice that our clients deserve. We will work thoroughly and passionately to represent those who felt they could not protect themselves. If you or a loved one has suffered from any form of sexual assault, it is crucial to act now. Do not hesitate to contact the New York sexual abuse lawyers at Hach & Rose, LLP today at 646-685-8045 or online. Our compassionate, caring, and experienced attorneys will work diligently to uncover whether criminal charges, a civil lawsuit – or both – can be filed against the perpetrator or negligent third party who is responsible for the abuse and its damages to you.

Deadline for filing child sexual abuse claim against the Boy Scouts announced

Posted on Friday, July 3rd, 2020 at 9:30 am    

by Hillary Nappi

By now, you know that you’re not alone. If you were sexually abused or assaulted by a Scoutmaster or leader of the Boy Scouts and other volunteers of the Boy Scouts of America, contact our Firm right away.

The Boy Scouts of America believe that more than 7,000 of its former leaders and volunteers were involved in sexually abusing children over the course of more than 70 years. If you survived sexual abuse at the hands of a Boy Scout leader or volunteer, contact Hach & Rose to have a consultation with an experienced attorney who can advise you.

The Boy Scouts of America has long known of the problem within its organization. The Boy Scouts kept files on specific scout leaders and volunteers and maintained a list of hundreds of people affiliated with the organization that had faced allegations of sexually abusing the children whose family paid for them to participate in activities. Although the “perversion files” are by no means all-inclusive, the mere existence of the files illustrates a pattern of evil, crime, and abuse within the organization that led children being repeatedly victimized over decades.

On February 17, 2020, the Boy Scouts of America announced its filing Chapter 11 Bankruptcy. On May 26, 2020 the bankruptcy court set a claims bar date marking the deadline by which all survivors of child sexual abuse by a BSA volunteer or employee must formally file a claim with the court: November 16, 2020.


After this date, a survivor could be denied any sort of recovery from the Boy Scouts of America. You have waited for justice this long; act now before it is too late.

At Hach & Rose, LLP, we are committed to achieving the justice that our clients deserve. We will work thoroughly and passionately to represent those who felt they could not protect themselves. If you or a loved one has suffered from any form of sexual assault, it is crucial to act now. Do not hesitate to contact the New York sexual abuse lawyers at Hach & Rose, LLP today at 646-685-8045 or online. Our compassionate, caring, and experienced attorneys will work diligently to uncover whether criminal charges, a civil lawsuit – or both – can be filed against the perpetrator or negligent third party who is responsible for the abuse and its damages to you.

The Sins of a Teacher

Posted on Friday, June 26th, 2020 at 6:29 pm    

The Sins of a Teacher

It is important to know that a pedophile by definition is a person, who is sexually attracted to children. Often a pedophile will seek employment in a position that involves daily contact with children. The pedophile will prey on the shy or troublesome children and those who come from broken or single parent homes. Generally, the pedophile has an attraction to one gender. In fact, this is the case in two suits that we have filed against the Salamanca City School District and Michael DuPont.

Sexual assault and abuse knows no age, sexual orientation, gender identity, race or gender. It can happen and does happen to anyone. Men and boys who have been sexually assaulted or abused may have many of the same feelings and reactions as other survivors of sexual assault, but they may also face some additional challenges because of social attitudes and stereotypes about men and masculinity.

Michael DuPont is a former science teacher at Salamanca Middle/High School who was convicted and incarcerated for sexual crimes he committed against several teenage boys at the school. He is currently on New York State’s Sex Offender Registry. We represent two of his victims and have brought suits against him, along with his employer the Salamanca City School District, for sexual assault that occurred from 2002 through 2003. Both victims endured the same abuse at the hands of Michael DuPont, in fact they were targeted by DuPont. As stated in our complaints, DuPont developed a questionnaire at the beginning of the school year to determine the backgrounds of students and learn such things as whether the children came from broken or single-parent homes. Both victims filled out the questionnaires and they fit the stereotype of student that DuPont preyed on.

DuPont began his campaign to manipulate both plaintiffs and showered them with lots of attention so that they could begin to trust him. For one plaintiff DuPont made personalized CD’s with the student’s favorite music and gave him special privileges in the classroom. For the other, DuPont took him to the movies and to get ice cream and even allowed plaintiff to take DuPont’s personal lap top home since he didn’t have a computer at home. Once trust was built, DuPont started to show the boys pornography at school featuring young boys engaged in sexual acts on the school’s premises.

The attorneys at Hach & Rose understand how sensitive it is for male survivors of sexual abuse to come forward and tell their story. Men who were sexually abused as boys or teens may also respond differently than men who were sexually assaulted as adults. While not a complete list, male survivors of sexual abuse and assault tend to experience the following:

  • Anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, flashbacks, and eating disorders
  • Avoiding people or places that remind you of the assault or abuse
  • Concerns or questions about sexual orientation
  • Fear of the worst happening and having a sense of a shortened future
  • Feeling like “less of a man” or that you no longer have control over your own body
  • Feeling on-edge, being unable to relax, and having difficulty sleeping
  • Sense of blame or shame over not being able to stop the assault or abuse, especially if you experienced an erection or ejaculation
  • Withdrawal from relationships or friendships and an increased sense of isolation
  • Worrying about disclosing for fear of judgment or disbelief

At Hach & Rose, LLP, we are committed to achieving that justice. We will work thoroughly and passionately to represent those who felt they could not protect themselves. If you or a loved one has suffered from any form of sexual assault, it is crucial to act now. Do not hesitate to contact the New York sexual abuse lawyers at Hach & Rose, LLP today at (212) 779-0057. Our compassionate, caring, and experienced attorneys will work diligently to uncover whether criminal charges, a civil lawsuit – or both – can be filed against the perpetrator or negligent third party who is responsible for the abuse and its damages to you.

Contact Hach & Rose, LLP right now at 646-685-8045 for a FREE, discreet consultation
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