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 (212) 779-0057 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.