New York Child Victims Act – Giving Hope to Victims of Child Sexual Abuse

Posted on Tuesday, October 20th, 2020 at 1:14 am    

On February 14, 2019, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the Child Victims Act as part of his Justice Agenda. It allows those who were sexually abused as children to pursue legal action despite when the abuse occurred and whether the statute of limitations expired. This law provides victims the opportunity to hold their abuser accountable and recover the financial compensation they deserve for their suffering.

Under the Child Victims Act, survivors and families of sexual abuse can pursue civil and criminal charges for the abuse they endured, even if it happened decades ago. Under normal circumstances, the state’s statute of limitations only allows the filing of a civil or criminal lawsuit until the victim turns 23 years old. However, the passage of this Act provides the following:

  • Allows survivors to file a civil lawsuit until they turn 55 years old and a criminal lawsuit until they reach the age of 28;
  • Provides a look-back window to pursue legal action despite the statute of limitations having lapsed;
  • Increases the amount of time to seek criminal charges;
  • Eliminates the requirement to file a notice of claim if the victim was a minor;
  • Authorizes the Office of Court Administration to communicate these regulations for prompt decisions regarding revived civil and criminal actions.

The Impact of COVID-19 on the Child Victims Act Look-Back Window

Under the original legislation, the Child Victims Act provided a look-back window so victims could file their claims until August 14, 2020. However, with the COVID-19 pandemic shutting down the country and putting legal cases on hold, Governor Cuomo decided to extend the look-back window until January 14, 2021. This gave child sex abuse survivors an additional five months to file their lawsuits.

The decision was the result of most businesses, including the court system, closing to prevent the spread of the virus. With a decrease in legal services, individuals who suffered from abuse when they were younger lost months of precious time to prepare their cases. Cuomo didn’t want them to encounter roadblocks while bringing their abusers to justice.

Another Extension to the Previous Look-Back Window

As of July 20, 2020, New York confirmed a statewide total of 407,326 positive cases of coronavirus, with a total of 25,056 deaths. Due to the consistent increase in numbers since the pandemic first started, Governor Cuomo signed another bill giving child sex abuse survivors until August 14, 2021, to file their lawsuits. Lawmakers believed this was a necessary move given the impact of the virus on the legal system. Most courthouses put a hold on cases already filed and weren’t accepting new ones.

With another extension, survivors and their families could breathe a sigh of relief, knowing they wouldn’t run out of time. This was especially good news for individuals who couldn’t afford to hire a lawyer at the time. A lot of people lost their jobs and were struggling with the unemployment website. At the time Cuomo approved the new deadline, New York unemployment claims increased to 1.1 million, and many people who previously applied for benefits still hadn’t seen a check.

New York Dioceses at the Center of Many Claims

One of the most publicized lawsuits filed under the Child Victims Act was centered around the Diocese of Rockville Centre. Since 2019, they have received over 200 lawsuits with allegations of sexual abuse by multiple clergy members. Due to the financial burden of litigating various cases at once, they made the decision to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in September 2020.

This is currently the largest Roman Catholic diocese in New York to declare bankruptcy since the Child Victims Act passed. The decision to pursue bankruptcy was made to determine the amount of insurance coverage and assets available to compensate those who filed lawsuits. Although most cases are still pending under the Act, the diocese set up their own independent compensation program, where over 350 survivors received a total of $62 million in compensation.

The Albany Roman Catholic Diocese is also under fire for allegations of sexual abuse by a former priest. Reverend Cabell B. Marbury worked for 50 years at Cardinal McCloskey Memorial High School and Bishop Maginn High School in Albany, New York. Even after retiring in 2009, he continued to volunteer as a chaplain and school board member.

Marbury was named in various claims beginning in 1993, but the cases never went anywhere. Since the passage of the Child Victims Act, he’s been named in multiple lawsuits by victims who claimed he sexually abused them during his career. Although Marbury died in 2014, the Diocesan Review Board hired an independent investigator in February 2020 to look into all past and new allegations and decided to add him to the diocese’s official sex offenders list.

Hach & Rose, LLP Will Help You in Your Fight for Justice

Our New York personal injury attorneys have over 100 years of combined experience representing victims of child sex abuse. We have the experience, resources, and knowledge to hold abusers accountable for their actions. You’ve suffered enough and deserve the opportunity to put this traumatic experience behind you. You can depend on us to remain by your side and recover the maximum financial compensation you need to move forward with your life.

At Hach & Rose, LLP, we have a dedicated legal team that will work diligently to reach a favorable outcome in your case. You won’t be alone in this fight for justice. We’ll be here to provide you with support and guidance. Our New York personal injury attorneys are available 24/7. You can speak to us whenever you need us the most. We’ll be sure to walk you through the legal process so you know what to expect and keep you updated on the progress of your case.

We will work to hold the abuser responsible for the harm they caused. If you want to find out more about our legal services or how we can help you file a lawsuit under the Child Victims Act, call us today at 646-685-8045. We’ll be happy to meet with you for a free consultation.

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.

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.

Opening Up to Someone About Abuse

Posted on Friday, June 26th, 2020 at 6:25 pm    

Taking the First Step: How to open up to someone about your abuse

In our society it has been “taboo” to discuss matters of a sexual nature, in particular childhood sexual abuse. Whether you had feelings about your own sexuality or feelings of a sexual nature toward someone else, these things were just not discussed.
But what happens when someone you thought you could trust, or were supposed to trust, breaks a boundary and touches you in a way that makes you feel uncomfortable or uneasy? What happens when someone forces themselves on you sexually and takes advantage of your naivety and controls you by putting the fear in you?

What happens if you’re so confused, you do not know what to think? Sexual assault is in no way related to the sexual orientation of the perpetrator or the survivor, and a person’s sexual orientation cannot be caused by sexual abuse or assault.
As a child you do not understand why this person is acting this way toward you or making you do things that you know nothing about. As a child, you do not know how to stand up for yourself and make your abuse stop. So instead, you begin to question yourself, “Did I do something wrong?” “Did I deserve this?,” “I know them so it must be ok, right?” The answer is always “NO”. No, you didn’t do anything wrong. You didn’t deserve it and it’s not ok! As a victim of child sexual abuse, you feel apprehensive that no one will believe you, in fact you were even told by your abuser that no one will ever believe you. So, what do you then? For too long, survivors of childhood sexual abuse kept their secret inside until it burned a gaping hole in their stomach. For too long, survivors of sexual assault lived through their life being turned upside down. Thankfully, new laws are allowing these survivors to come forward and pursue the justice they deserve.

When a survivor speaks up for herself and takes the first step by telling someone about the abuse, that person begins to heal. It may seem like a small step but to a victim of child abuse it seems nearly impossible to do. Victims of sexual abuse are constantly burdened by the feelings of shame and embarrassment. It’s very common for these victims to hide the truth from their families and loved ones. It becomes very challenging to trust again so it’s simpler to just bottle it up. Fear of being judged is another reason why victims do not speak up.

What is vital to understand is that no one will judge you for what happened to you when you were an innocent child. A true confidant will only listen and help you get through your traumatic experience. As a victim of childhood sexual abuse, it is extremely beneficial to the mind and soul to have someone by your side. That support will empower you and give you the strength and courage you need to overcome this trauma that you experienced. You are not alone in this. Unfortunately, there are countless victims of sexual abuse in our society and they know exactly what you’re going through. Living with this dark secret can really affect your future and hinder your ability to make the right choices. When you work through the trauma early on, it can shape your future in a positive way. It brings down barriers that seemed impossible to break down.

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.

OHEL- more like Oh Hell

Posted on Wednesday, June 17th, 2020 at 7:29 pm    

Since the New York State Legislature passed the Child Victims Act in late January 2019, our Firm has filed numerous cases on behalf of survivors of sexual abuse. Many of the defendants that have been named in these suits are organizations and institutions that were supposed to protect children, unfortunately they failed at the one thing they promised to do.|

Among these defendants is the OHEL Children’s Home and Family Services located in Brooklyn, New York. As stated on their website, OHEL claims that it “is the most trusted haven of safety and support, providing services that help build lives, and strengthen families, homes and communities” but they did not provide safety for many children in their care including our client. In fact, they were negligent and did not protect children from their own staff members. Our client, as alleged in his complaint, was abused by the infamous Simcha Adler who worked as a counselor at OHEL. We say infamous because this is not the first allegation of sexual misconduct with a minor for Adler.

In fact, Simcha Adler was arrested and convicted for his criminal acts. You will find Simcha “Stephen” Adler’s name listed on the Jewish Community Watch’s “Wall of Shame” and on the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services’ “Sex Offender Registry.” Simcha Adler used his position as a counselor, employed by OHEL, to groom and sexually abuse innocent children, including our client, that were placed in OHEL. When our client was 9 years old, he was placed in OHEL Children’s Home in Borough Park, Brooklyn. While there, he met Simcha Adler who was a counselor. As alleged in the complaint, when our client was 10 years old, Simcha started to pay extra special attention to him and would treat him to the movies and bowling. That led to inappropriate touching which eventually led to Adler forcefully sodomizing our client. After the second rape, our client reported Adler to the house mother who took no immediate action. OHEL ignored the complaints against Adler for more than a year. OHEL made it a priority to minimize the severity of Adler’s heinous behavior and just “swept it under the rug.”

Our client’s childhood was stolen from him by a pedophilic predator and irreparable damage has been done. Now our client has the opportunity to fight for his dignity and regain some shred of hope that he lost long ago when he was sexually abused at OHEL Children’s Home. Victims and survivors of sexual assault should persevere, and continue to fight for the justice they deserve. The first step a victim can take to achieve justice requires you to immediately consult and hire a knowledgeable, compassionate and dedicated attorney who knows how to aggressively protect your rights.

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. 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.

Child Victims Act: What It Is and Why It’s Important

Posted on Tuesday, March 31st, 2020 at 3:41 pm    

Despite becoming effective in August 2019, many people still haven’t heard about the Child Victims Act that New York Governor George Cuomo passed over a year ago. It’s a groundbreaking new law that extends the deadline for childhood sexual abuse victims to bring criminal charges against their abusers.

The three main elements of the Child Victims Act are:

  • Allows a one-year “lookback” window to pursue civil action regardless of when the abuse occurred
  • Extends the statute of limitations for felony sex crimes until the victim turns 28 years of age
  • Allows those sexually abused as children to seek civil action against the abuser and institutions involved until the victim turns 55 years old

The deadline for the “lookback” window is going to expire in August 2020, and with the development of the COVID-19 pandemic, lawmakers are seeking an extension. Members of Congress and CVA activists discussed the lack of campaigns notifying people of the new law. That, along with the coronavirus stalling court proceedings across the country, an extension to the deadline is essential.

Governor Cuomo Open to Discussing an Extension

State lawmakers issued a statement earlier in March regarding the passage of the proposed CVA deadline extension. Cuomo had argued that the one-year window was plenty of time for victims to pursue legal action and file lawsuits. However, with COVID-19 shutting down businesses and interfering with court cases, lawmakers reopened the discussions.

Several New York Assemblywomen and a state Senator spoke from their own experiences with childhood sexual abuse. They said it’s difficult for most people to open up about their abuse, and sometimes it could take years before victims are willing to come forward with their allegations.

Even though the one-year window began in August 2019, there are still a lot of people who aren’t aware of the new law. The state of New York failed to issue campaigns notifying the public of their new rights under the Child Victims Act. Many don’t realize they’re allowed to file a lawsuit even though the original statute already passed. Others are having trouble seeking legal representation or can’t afford to hire a lawyer right now.

Now that COVID-19 is affecting ongoing lawsuits and preventing new ones from getting filed, lawmakers believe now more than ever that an extension is crucial. They want to give victims more time to seek the justice they rightfully deserve. Adding another year to the CVA could accomplish that.

Recent Lawsuits Filed Under the Child Victims Act

Four people accused a former teacher at Maine-Endwell School District of sexual abuse when they attended the school in 1970. In the lawsuits, the victims claimed that they reported the abuse to the principal, but there was no investigation performed or police complaints filed. The lawsuits cite negligence on the part of the school district for failing to investigate and report the alleged sexual abuse properly.

Another school district faces lawsuits from multiple survivors of sexual abuse. One of them alleged that between 1990 and 1991, an employee of the school repeatedly abused them sexually. The school provides education and housing for students with learning disabilities. All the survivors stated in their lawsuits that the school failed to prevent the abuse from occurring and gave their negligent employees access to minors.

Another individual filed a lawsuit that a camper and resident at Forest Lake Camp repeatedly sexually abused them over 45 years ago. During the ongoing abuse, the camp’s employees were given access to minor children. The survivor reported that no one did anything to stop the abuse from occurring, and the camp negligently hired abusive counselors.

A woman came forward accusing David Rockefeller’s chauffeur of molesting her when she was only seven years old. Her lawsuit states that Luis Oliveira sexually assaulted her in the living quarters she shared with her mother on the Rockefeller property. She said the family ignored warnings from other workers about the employee’s inappropriate behavior and failed to protect her.

In 1980, well-known author Marc Gafni allegedly molested a 13-year-old girl. The woman stated when she was 13, Gafni would sneak into her room and grope her over a period of nine months. Another woman filed a lawsuit against the author, claiming that he touched her against her will when she was 16 years of age.

Catholic Dioceses Face Allegations of Sexual Abuse

A majority of initial lawsuits filed under the Child Victims Act were against multiple Catholic dioceses throughout New York. Since the new law passed, there were hundreds of cases stating priests and other members of the church sexually abused children, and the number of cases continues to grow.

Initially, the Independent Reconciliation Compensation Program paid 79 victims a total of $11 million. There were lawsuits filed against 28 diocese employees, most of them being priests. A group of home workers and a janitor also faced legal action for their role in the sexual abuse of minors.

Due to the increasing number of allegations and compensation sought by all the victims, the diocese in both Buffalo and Rochester ended up filing for bankruptcy. They chose to go down the path of bankruptcy to protect them and redirect future cases to the bankruptcy court.

Stand Up to Your Abuser with Help from Hach & Rose, LLP

You deserve to pursue justice for the despicable actions of your abuser. No child should ever have to go through such a traumatic experience as sexual abuse. It causes devastating effects and can impact someone for the rest of their life.

Hach & Rose, LLP knows how difficult it is to discuss your experiences. We provide a safe and comfortable environment for our clients. We will treat you with compassion and understanding while reviewing the details of your case. It’s our mission to recover the maximum compensation owed to you for the horrible events you experienced as a child.

If you want to speak with one of our experienced lawyers, contact us today at 646-685-8045 to schedule a free consultation. There’s no risk to meet with us and receive valuable legal advice. We’ll advise you on your options and help guide you towards the decision that works best for you.

Child Victims Act and Statutes of Limitations

Posted on Tuesday, March 31st, 2020 at 3:31 pm    

For most survivors of sexual abuse, it’s emotionally and psychologically devastating to speak up about what happened. Many don’t come forward at all out of fear or shame. Some worry no one will believe them, or their attacker will retaliate in some way. Even if a victim of sexual abuse does decide to face their abuser, it could be too late to pursue legal action because of the statute of limitations.

A statute of limitations sets a deadline for individuals to seek compensation for an injury they suffered. A lot of sexual abuse victims are well past their state’s statute of limitations for childhood sex crimes. Even though they want to hold their abuser responsible for what they did years or decades ago, they can’t. They have to live with what happened to them and know they’re unable to seek justice.

New York Child Victims Act


In 2019, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo passed the Child Victims Act. It allows those who suffered sexual abuse as a child to come forward and file a lawsuit against their abuser. Under the new law, they have a one-year window to pursue legal action despite the statute of limitations.

In addition to the window, sexual abuse survivors can now file civil lawsuits until they turn 55 years old. It’s also possible to file criminal charges against alleged abusers until the victim turns 28 years of age.

Since this new law passed, thousands of individuals sexually abused as children filed lawsuits to have their day in court and face their attacker. There have been a surprising number of lawsuits filed against the Catholic dioceses throughout the state of New York. Some notable organizations also came under scrutiny, such as the Boy Scouts of America.

Who is Liable Under the Child Victims Act?

The law allows victims to pursue civil action against any party who participated in or knew about the sexual abuse. Even if someone didn’t perform abusive acts, if they knew it was happening and actively tried to cover it up, they could be held legally responsible.

Many lawsuits named priests, scout leaders, sports coaches, teachers, doctors, camp counselors, and professors. The entities that employed those individuals could face legal trouble for failing to stop the abuse from occurring or trying to hide it.

How the Child Victims Act Could Affect You

Children of sexual abuse usually lack the courage to speak out about what happened to them. They can’t remove themselves from their horrific situation or care for themselves. Many survivors feel a great deal of shame and aren’t ready to talk about it until a lot of time has passed. By then, the statute of limitations is up, and they can’t file a lawsuit.

This new law gives you time to retain a lawyer and prepare yourself for the battle ahead. You finally get to seek justice and hold the people responsible for what they did to you when you were a defenseless child. If you’re unsure of how to sue your abuser, you should seek legal representation.

An experienced lawyer will obtain all the sufficient evidence available and fight aggressively throughout your case. Even though no amount of money can take away what happened to you, it can punish the parties that caused you harm.

You Can Prepare Your Case Despite Court Closures

Even though the court system has come to a screeching halt, many lawyers are working with their clients to prepare a lawsuit in preparation for when courts resume operations. It’s never too early to hire a lawyer and discuss your options.

Even if you can’t file your lawsuit right away, you can prepare documentation and evidence for when the courts reopen. If it takes several months and you didn’t prepare, you lose all that valuable time and have to start from scratch. The deadline isn’t far away, and if Governor Cuomo doesn’t grant an extension, you’ll likely run out of time.

New York Dioceses File for Bankruptcy

After receiving hundreds of lawsuits citing childhood sexual abuse and assault, the Buffalo diocese had to file for bankruptcy. The volume of claims among the eight New York dioceses caused concern that bankruptcy was inevitable.

The first diocese to file for bankruptcy was in Rochester. They filed for Chapter 11 protection one month after the Child Victims Law became effective. They stated that it was the best way to protect their assets and pay settlements to the victims of sex abuse.

Let Hach & Rose, LLP Help You with Your Sexual Abuse Case

Were you the victim of childhood sexual abuse? Did you suffer severe physical or emotional damage because of it? If so, Hach & Rose, LLP can represent you and seek the justice you deserve.

Even if the events of your abuse took place decades ago, we’ll cite the Child Victims Act to pursue compensation from your abuser. We understand the pain you experienced and how tough it is to come forward. You won’t have to go through this alone. We have experience handling cases just like yours and will treat you with compassion and sensitivity.

At Hach & Rose, LLP, we believe it’s important to stand up to the person who caused you harm. You suffered long enough, and we’ll work hard to help you put this traumatic experience behind you.

Our lawyers have combined experience of over 100 years. We use all the resources at our disposal to ensure we win the maximum financial award available. To schedule your free consultation, call 646-685-8045, and we’ll discuss how to get you on the road to recovery.

What is the Child Victims Act?

Posted on Monday, March 16th, 2020 at 3:59 am    

The Child Victims Act (CVA) extends the statute of limitations for a survivor of child sexual abuse in criminal and civil cases in New York. This means there is now more time for a survivor of child sexual abuse to press criminal charges. And, in civil cases, the CVA extends the period of time during which a survivor of child sexual abuse can file a claim for money damages. The CVA also allows claims to be filed against institutions that may have been involved in the abuse. Judges will also receive special training in dealing with cases involving child sexual abuse.

If you believe you may have a claim, contact us immediately: 212-779-0057

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Long-Term Health Outcomes of Childhood Sexual Abuse

Posted on Monday, March 16th, 2020 at 3:44 am    

The effects of sexual abuse in childhood can have a monumental and long-lasting impact. Just a few include stress, changes in the brain, and health issues.

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