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 646-685-8045. We will be happy to meet you for a free consultation.

NY Child Abuse Victims Empowered to Seek Justice During Pandemic

Posted on Wednesday, December 9th, 2020 at 6:30 pm    

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo passed the Child Victims Act into law on February 14, 2019, empowering sexual abuse survivors to hold their abusers accountable.

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

There’s a five-year criminal statute of limitations under current New York law and a three-year civil statute of limitations. However, with the Child Victims Act’s passage, survivors can file civil and criminal lawsuits well past the deadlines, regardless of when the abuse occurred.

This legislation includes the following:

  • One-year lookback window to pursue previous claims that exceeded the current statute of limitations
  • File a civil lawsuit until the age of 55 for claims that haven’t exceeded the statute of limitations
  • File civil claims against public and private organizations involved in allegations of sexual abuse
  • Pursue felony charges against an offender until the victim turns 28 years old
  • Pursue misdemeanor charges against an abuser until the victim turns 25 years old

The original one-year lookback window meant survivors could seek legal action until August 14, 2020. Unfortunately, most people were unaware of this new law, and little was done to get the word out.

Also, many people could not afford to hire a lawyer because of the expensive legal fees. Others weren’t ready to speak up about what happened and face their abusers. Although thousands of lawsuits were filed in the first few months, many other survivors are still waiting for justice.

COVID-19 Prompts First Extension of the Lookback Window

By April 2020, the pandemic had shut down most of the country. Each state issued its own stay-at-home or safer-at-home order requiring residents to go into public places only when necessary. It also affected the court system, which effectively put a hold on all child sexual abuse cases. Without access to the courts, no one could move forward with their lawsuits.

Governor Cuomo wanted sexual abuse survivors to have their days in court and pursue the justice they deserve. On May 8, 2020, he signed legislation to extend the one-year lookback window to January 14, 2021. This gave everyone more time to seek legal representation and prepare their cases for when the courts reopen. Cuomo said it would be unfair for these survivors to continue to suffer while their abusers avoid the consequences of their actions.

Another Extension to the Lookback Window Under the Child Victims Act

Although some states reopened businesses after a month or two of lockdown, there were still restrictions in place to slow the spread of coronavirus. When it became clear that COVID-19 wasn’t going away anytime soon, Governor Cuomo decided to extend the lookback window again.

This time, he announced that sexual abuse survivors would have until August 14, 2021, to pursue lawsuits. This gives extra time to those who don’t feel safe being in public places or can’t afford a lawyer after losing their jobs. It also provides time for anyone who hasn’t heard of the new law to have a chance to hold their abusers accountable for the harm they caused.

Buffalo Diocese Faces Lawsuit for Covering Up Sex Abuse

On November 23, New York State Attorney General Letitia James filed a lawsuit against two former leaders of the Diocese of Buffalo: Bishop Richard J. Malone and retired Auxiliary Bishop Edward M. Grosz.

The 218-page lawsuit claims that the diocese covered up sexual abuse accusations for two decades and failed to act on allegations against multiple priests.

The attorney general wants to ensure that Grosz and Malone are banned from working in future leadership roles with charitable organizations. After Bishop Malone resigned in 2019, Bishop Edward B. Scharfenberger took over. He is also included in the lawsuit.

The lawsuit also includes the following allegations:

  • Lack of proper records involving priests accused of sexual abuse
  • Failure to maintain contact with the offenders, including those that moved to other dioceses or ministries
  • Payment of monthly stipends and health insurance to “unassignable” priests
  • Failure to investigate and refer the accused to the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith for removal from the diocese
  • Misleading the public with inaccurate or false statements about how accusations of abuse were handled

According to legal documents, this lawsuit’s goal is to establish mandatory reporting of sexual abuse allegations to the attorney general for five years, create an independent review of how the diocese responds to sexual abuse allegations, and mandate external oversight of compliance remedial plans.

Contact Hach & Rose, LLP for Help with Your Case

If you or your loved one are a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, our compassionate and highly skilled legal team will advocate effectively for your rights and fight for justice. We understand the trauma you can carry after suffering childhood sexual abuse; it can cause emotional and mental pain that lasts a lifetime. No one should ever feel afraid to speak out about what happened to them.

At Hach & Rose, LLP, we have more than 30 years of experience pursuing complex cases and will work hard to reach a positive outcome. We want to help you face your abuser and hold them accountable for what they have done. We will provide you with the compassion, support, and guidance you need to get through this. You can depend on us to stay by your side throughout your case.

Our team of dedicated attorneys wants you to begin healing and moving forward with your life. You were wronged by someone and deserve the opportunity to recover financial compensation, as well as see your abuser face legal ramifications for the crime they committed.

We want to ensure this doesn’t happen again to anyone else. Call us at 646-685-8045 today to schedule your free consultation.

Interview with Survivor Patrice Griffin

Posted on Tuesday, December 1st, 2020 at 7:19 pm    

We sat down with Patrice Griffin, founder of Patrice’s Kids, a nonprofit that seeks to protect children and educate adults on the prevention of child abuse, to learn about her journey from abuse victim to activist.

When did you decide to create Patrice’s Kids? Was there one specific moment that made you realize this is what you wanted to do?

I first had the idea back in 2018. When I went through my abuse and the years of struggle that came after, I knew I wanted to do something to help children like me. I just wasn’t sure how I would do it, but when I started thinking about a nonprofit, it felt right to me. I never want another child to go through what I went through. My goal is to help in any way I can to prevent child abuse and support children in our community.

You not only overcame child sexual abuse, you also overcame drug addiction, homelessness, and suicidal ideation. Can you tell us about that journey?

After my abuse, I was accepted into a rehab program in upstate New York that helped adolescents and young adults like myself. That program helped me get clean, and I was able to beat my addiction. Unfortunately, I still didn’t have anywhere else to go. After I left the rehab program, I was homeless in NYC for about two years. I lived in the train station. These were all dark times for me, feeling like absolutely no one in the world cared about me. There were times when I wanted to die, but to be honest, most of us don’t want to die. All you really want is an end to the pain. Our brain can’t hold all the stress, anxiety, and racing thoughts, and you just want an out, any out.

Through the grace of a higher power, one day a police officer woke me up from where I was sleeping in the station. I was worried he was going to arrest me, but he was standing there with a social worker. They asked me if I was homeless and if I needed help, and I said yes. They took me to breakfast, and I told them about my situation. They were able to get me into programs that got me housing and mental health counseling.

It’s not uncommon for victims of child sexual abuse to struggle with drugs, suicide, and housing. Why do you think that is?

Victims of sexual abuse feel alone, and like no one can help them. The world becomes so overwhelming when you’re trying to deal with such a huge issue as an adolescent. Drugs provide a release, and for a moment you forget your problems. But the slide happens so fast. You start needing more and more moments to cope, and before you know it you lose your job, your housing, your support system. You fall, and it feels like there’s no one to catch you.

Your first book was just released, The Unconscious Community. Tell us about your book and why you were inspired to share your story.

As a victim I felt like I was suffering by myself. I truly thought that there was no one in the world who could understand what I was going through. As an adult who has now gone through that journey of healing, I want other victims just like me to know that they aren’t alone. I know exactly what they’re going through. And I want them to know that just because you’re going through the worst time of your life right now it doesn’t mean that there isn’t a light at the end of the tunnel. The road to healing is a lifelong process, and it won’t be easy, but it is possible. I want everyone to know that there’s hope and there are people out there who care about them.

You publicly campaigned for New York to pass the Child Victims Act, which allows adult victims who were abused as children to bring charges against their abusers, even if the events occurred many years ago. Tell us about that.

Gary Greenberg is a politician that spearheaded the Act, and when I heard about the campaign, I knew I wanted to be involved. I ran a lot of online campaigns, and I spoke with survivors about their stories, and I was asked by survivors Dave Ohlmuller and Joe Capozzi to be in their documentary, “A Peloton of One.” Adult survivors of child abuse not only have to deal with the trauma of what they go through, but also knowing that the statute of limitations prevents them from ever seeking justice for those crimes. The CVA changes all of this and gives us a voice. This isn’t the end, but it’s a start. Just having this avenue is a glimmer of hope for all survivors.

I think that for most of us who worked on getting the CVA passed, the next step is removing the statute of limitations on child sexual abuse. You’ll never forget what happened to you. Your mind may block it out in order to cope, but you’ll never truly forget that fear and horror. A victim should never be prevented from seeking justice.

Many victims of child sexual abuse do not come forward for many years. Tell us why you think that happens.

For myself, and for many of the survivors that I’ve spoken with over the years, the embarrassment and shame is overwhelming. What happened to us shouldn’t happen to anyone, but often when we come forward, we’re faced with “are you sure? Do you just want to get money out of them? Are you lying? Why didn’t you tell us sooner?” All of these questions help no one, and they just revictimize us. We go through that trauma all over again because no one believes us. Families often brush the abuse under the rug, or they blame us. In some ways it’s worse for boys, because if it was a male offender they suffer through questions about their sexuality, and if it was a female offender, then they get told that’s every boy’s dream and they should be happy about it. I have personally been called a liar and have been accused of just wanting to get a check. These memories are physically painful for all survivors and bringing up that pain to tell someone what happened is traumatic, and you can imagine why no one would want to bring up those memories again.

Patrice’s Kids collects duffel bags filled with necessary items like shoes, clothing, and school supplies and distributes them to children in need. Tell us about how it feels to give these items directly to kids in need and how it impacts the community.

It really brings me full circle, because I remember the times when I couldn’t afford to buy a pair of shoes for myself, and now I’m distributing shoes and other supplies to children in need. It’s an amazing feeling. Back when I was living in the train station, I didn’t have a coat and a woman passing by was worried about me. She told me to stay there, and she came back in a few minutes holding a coat for me. I promised myself that one day I would be the person giving back to people in need. Doing this service alleviates some stress for the community and for nonprofits who are providing other services. It takes that burden off them so they can focus on other needs.

Perhaps your greatest impact is the courses you offer which train adults to recognize the warning signs of grooming and sexual abuse. Tell us how you developed the course and its importance.

One of the only avenues for preventing child abuse is empowering adults to know what signs to look for and alerting authorities, without second guessing themselves about whether it’s their place to do so. When I spoke to people in the community, I started to hear a lot of the same barriers. They would tell me they don’t know what age to start talking to their kids about inappropriate touching, they don’t have the money to take a training, they didn’t know where to start. So I decided I could solve this problem by providing these courses myself. I provide a certified trainer who offers online training courses, all free of cost to anyone who wants to take them. These courses teach what signs to look for, what grooming is, what the effects of child sex abuse are, and more. The goal is always to bring awareness to this issue and stop pretending that abuse doesn’t happen. Ignoring the issues won’t solve anything. Never second guess yourself – if you think something is wrong, trust your instincts.

I understand you’re running a toy drive collection for the holidays. Can you tell us more about the toy drive and where people can donate?

This is my third year hosting a toy drive, and it’s a little different because of Covid of course. So this year I decided to work with CASA Hope, which is a foster care agency out of Houston. Any proceeds I get from the sale of my book will go to buying toys and supplies for these children in foster care. Every child deserves to have a special day on Christmas and wake up to presents. If anyone is interested in participating, they can make a donation on my website.

Lawsuits Pile Up Against Westchester Youth Home, The Children’s Village

Posted on Wednesday, November 4th, 2020 at 9:58 pm    

The Children’s Village has made headlines in the papers recently as victims speak out against the abuse they suffered. 12 plaintiffs have come forward so far, and Hach & Rose, LLP is proud to represent two of these victims. No one should have their innocence stolen from them as children.

Located in White Plains, the 501c3 has been in operation since 1851 serving the community in various capacities that have evolved over the years. Today, their mission is to “work in partnership with families to help society’s most vulnerable children so that they become educationally proficient, economically productive, and socially responsible members of their communities.” The organization removes children from abusive homes and aims to heal their traumas by caring for them on location at their facility in Westchester. Unfortunately, the abuse only continued when children arrived at the Village, and for many it caused more harm than good.

Both of our clients were placed under the custody of The Children’s Village and assigned to live in cottages on the premises. Each cottage held a number of children that were under the care of The Children’s Village, and the cottages were under supervision by Village staff members. While living there, both of our clients were abused by the supervisors in charge of their cottages. One client was groomed with gifts, special privileges, and outings to gain our client’s trust. The supervisors committed the abuse at night, while the children were sleeping, and relied on fear and shame to keep their victims quiet. The victims will suffer trauma for the rest of their lives.

If you or a loved one suffered sexual abuse at The Children’s Village, we urge you to contact our firm now. You have stayed silent for so long, but you deserve justice and you don’t have to suffer in silence anymore. Even though the incidents may have occurred many years ago, under the Child Victim’s Act you have until August 14, 2021 to file. Contact our team today at Hach & Rose, LLP for your free and confidential case review.

Hach & Rose, LLP Seeks Justice for Sexual Abuse Victim at Hyde Park Baptist Church

Posted on Thursday, September 10th, 2020 at 3:06 pm    

Child victims of sexual abuse will spend the rest of their lives coping with the abuse they survived. Even admitting what happened to them, let alone having the strength to report it, is extremely difficult. Hach & Rose, LLP is honored to fight on behalf of victims to help them get the justice they deserve.

Sexual abuse is not a market corned by the Catholic Church.  Our client, our client, was only 15 when her nightmare began in 2000. A parishioner at Hyde Park Baptist Church, our client expected her time at church to be educational and spiritually fulfilling. Instead, Shielagh was cornered and repeatedly molested by former senior pastor. During one of these horrific attacks, another church employee even walked in on the abuse. Unfortunately, the witness just turned away rather than intervene on her behalf.

Now an adult, our client has found the courage to file charges under the Child Victims Act. The act allows victims who suffered abuse as children to seek justice against their abusers, that was denied to them all those years before because of stigma, lack of action by the police, or utter denial that the acts occurred. Hach & Rose, LLP is seeking both punitive and compensatory damages on behalf of our client. The filing of this lawsuit was simply a step in our client’s journey toward healing.

If you, or a loved one, suffered sexual abuse at the Hyde Park Baptist Church, contact our firm now.  It is time to start your healing process. Under the Child Victims Act, you no longer have to suffer in silence. But don’t delay – charges must be filed before August 14, 2021. Let the New York sexual abuse attorneys at Hach & Rose, LLP shoulder the weight of your incident while you focus on healing. Contact our team today at 646-685-8045 for your free and confidential case review.

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.

Contact Hach & Rose, LLP right now at 646-685-8045 for a FREE, discreet consultation
Instant confidential case evaluation - click here