Epstein Victims’ Compensation Fund Continues to Accept Claims

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Filing a Claim With the Epstein Victims’ Compensation Program

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pursuing a Lawsuit Under the New York Child Victims Act

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Two Plaintiffs Seek Justice For Abuse by Former High School Teacher

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Child Victims Act Makes Justice Possible for Many

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

New Lawsuits Filed Under the New York Child Victims Act

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

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

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

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

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

Lawsuit Filed Against Yonkers Middle School Teacher

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

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

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

Lawsuits Against Rabbi Interrupted by COVID-19 Death

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

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

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

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

Details on the Extended Window for NY Sex Abuse Victims

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

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

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

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

Coronavirus Pandemic Leads to Extensions for Lookback Window

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

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

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

Contact Hach & Rose, LLP Today

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

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

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

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 (212) 779-0057 today to schedule your free consultation.

Former Paperboys Seek Justice from Newspaper for Alleged Sexual Abuse

Posted on Monday, November 23rd, 2020 at 5:52 pm    

Decades after the fact, two men are taking a stand against their former employer for failing to protect them against alleged abuse by their supervisor. Ballard Tackett, 47, and Kelby Ash, 49, worked as paperboys for the Rochester-based Democrat & Chronicle (D&C) and alleged repeated molestation between 1982 and 1985 by Jack I. Lazeroff, who oversaw their paper routes. Tackett’s and Ash’s ages ranged from 11 to 13 years during this period of time. They filed their lawsuit on September 25, 2020.

Other former D&C paperboys accused Lazeroff of sexual abuse in two separate claims filed in October 2019 and February 2020 against the newspaper and its parent company Gannet Co., Inc. All of the complaints assert that Lazeroff was hired by the Democrat & Chronicle, even though he had been fired from his previous position at a Rochester bank for conduct involving abuse of boys who spent time at the bank applying for student loans.

According to Tacket and Ash’s complaint, Lazeroff’s misbehavior was common knowledge among D&C staff, yet the newspaper failed to protect the boys from being abused. The filing states, “The D&C negligently hired Lazeroff then failed to properly supervise him … permitted Lazeroff unfettered and unsupervised access to … young children, failed to address sexual abuse that was occurring in plain sight, and exposed Plaintiffs to danger.”

Evidently, even Lazeroff’s behavior in public was questionable and apparent, and it led to his arrest in 1987 for a disorderly conduct charge. A donut shop employee witnessed Lazeroff in the shop “almost daily with a young paperboy” and engaging in inappropriate touching. Three D&C paperboys were identified in the police report as who Lazeroff had taken to the donut shop, but how the case was resolved is unclear. In 1988, Lazeroff was arrested again and “charged with sexual abuse in the second degree.” Reportedly, he managed to plead guilty to a lesser charge and escaped serving any jail time.

Lazeroff was finally fired from the D&C for “messing with a paperboy,” according to several former employees who made statements for the complaints against him. The D&C covered the story about the first lawsuits concerning Lazeroff but stated that the complaints did not contain any direct evidence that could substantiate the reason why Lazeroff was terminated.

According to another D&C story, the company could not determine whether any of Lazeroff’s supervisors were aware of or took action on the allegations of his misconduct. They also could not locate records that detail the exact dates that Lazeroff worked for the D&C. Lazeroff died in 2003.

Victims Rights Law Opens Door to Civil Suits

Thanks to the Child Victims Act, people like Mr. Tackett and Mr. Ash have an opportunity to take legal action long after a crime happens. This New York law went into effect in August of 2019 and permits childhood abuse victims to pursue civil claims even after the state’s usual statute of limitations has expired. Sexual abuse survivors have until they are 55 years old to file civil suits against their offenders and the institutions that may have turned a blind eye to the behavior.

The legislation initially allowed a one-year window of time ending August 14, 2020, for civil cases that allege child sexual abuse to be filed no matter how long ago it took place. That window has since been extended until August 2021.

Because of the severe trauma associated with childhood sexual abuse, it often takes adult survivors many years to gain the fortitude necessary to openly confront their abusers. Statutes of limitations that don’t allow for this time have denied victims the choice of bringing a civil lawsuit, and this is why proponents fought for the Child Victims Act.

Along with the opportunity for civil cases, the Child Victims Act also extended the time period for criminal charges of middle and lower-level child sex abuse felonies. Previously, these charges could only be brought until the victim reached the age of 23, but now the age is 28.

Civil suits can be an advantageous option for abuse survivors. The government maintains most of the power in criminal cases, and the defendant is accountable to the state instead of the victim, with the focus being on punishment. The defendant is presumed innocent, and the burden to prove otherwise is substantial.

With civil lawsuits, the survivor initiates the case, and the defendant is meant to be held accountable to the survivor. There is no presumption of innocence, and there is a lesser burden of proof. Since civil cases concentrate on compensating the survivor for the harm suffered, the survivor can receive money for damages, such as medical bills, lost wages, therapy expenses, and psychological anguish.

Hach & Rose, LLP Stands With Child Sexual Abuse Survivors

No child should ever experience the horror of sexual abuse, but it happens far more than many people realize. Predators take advantage of children in all kinds of situations, and children can be at risk anywhere, not just in the scenarios that have been well-publicized. Sexual abuse robs children of their childhoods and leaves them with haunting memories and feelings that they can’t understand, and adult survivors still feel the pain and effects of their abuse.

Survivors who seek justice by way of a civil case against an abuser or other negligent parties can gain restitution and have the means to battle back against something that had left them feeling defenseless. If you or a loved one have been affected by childhood sexual abuse, even if it took place in the past, you may still be able to pursue legal action under New York’s Child Victims Act.

Hach & Rose, LLP has a team of qualified and experienced lawyers who fight for childhood sexual abuse survivors so that they can receive the justice and compensation they deserve. To schedule a free, confidential consultation with one of our compassionate childhood sexual abuse attorneys, please call (212) 779-0057 or fill out our online contact form.

Child Victims Act Abuse Claims Prompt Bankruptcy Filing for Catholic Diocese

Posted on Monday, November 16th, 2020 at 5:00 pm    

The Diocese of Rockville Centre on Long Island filed for bankruptcy in federal court on October 1, 2020. Bishop John O. Barres stated that for various reasons, including the burden of litigation expenses from the more than 200 lawsuits stemming from the Child Victims Act, the diocese “was not going to be able to carry out its spiritual, charitable and educational missions if it were to continue to shoulder the increasingly heavy burden of litigation expenses associated with these cases.” Barres also explained that the ministries of the dioceses would go on and that employee wages and benefit programs would not be affected. Since schools and parishes are separate legal entities, they are expected to operate as normal.

When New York’s Child Victims Act took effect in August of 2019, it temporarily extended the statute of limitations for survivors of childhood sexual abuse to file claims against their abusers and the institutions they represented, allowing for a flood of sexual abuse allegations. The Diocese of Rockville Centre tried to fight the law by arguing it was unconstitutional, but a state appeals court would not halt the lawsuits. The dioceses’ bankruptcy filing disclosed an estimate of up to $500 million in liabilities from lawsuits.

The coronavirus pandemic also added to the financial problems of the diocese, which serves about 1.4 million Catholics. Donations that it would typically receive on Sundays were slashed when Mass services were suspended or restricted. The Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing stated that about 40 percent of the dioceses’ annual revenue is gained through offerings from Mass attendees at its parishes.

Three other of New York’s eight Roman Catholic dioceses had also filed for bankruptcy previously as a result of the Child Victims Act. The Diocese of Rochester was the first, followed by the Diocese of Syracuse and the Diocese of Buffalo. Since the early 2000s, about two dozen dioceses or archdioceses throughout the United States have pursued bankruptcy protection while dealing with sexual abuse lawsuits.

Strategy of Filing for Bankruptcy

Declaring bankruptcy is a tactic used by other organizations that have been affected by the Child Victims Act and similar laws, such as the Boy Scouts of America. Bankruptcy will allow the Diocese of Rockville Centre to survive financially and work out the lawsuits in an orderly manner. Documentation of all of its assets and liabilities will be provided to the bankruptcy court, so it can decide how the lawsuits will be settled.

In a statement from Bishop Barres, he declared that the diocese believed that Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection would be a more just method to address the cases. “Our goal is to make sure that all clergy sexual abuse survivors, and not just a few who were first to file lawsuits, are afforded just and equitable compensation,” he said.

A Pennsylvania State University law professor, Marie T. Reilly, who has studied Catholic organization bankruptcies, said, “The whole goal of the diocese is to open a new chapter in its financial life, free of Child Victims Act claims.”

In a pending lawsuit, the diocese had previously sued its insurance companies to make certain they would pay survivors. Bankruptcy may motivate the insurance carriers to start negotiations with survivors and end up saving the diocese a considerable amount of money.

An attorney who has represented plaintiffs in bankruptcy cases of other Catholic organizations believes that bankruptcy proceedings are often used to deny jury trials and protect defendants from having to share private documents through discovery that would publically display their practices.

What Happens to Current Lawsuits?

Claims that have already been or will be brought against the diocese may be affected by the bankruptcy declaration. Any ongoing lawsuits will most likely be frozen and moved under the supervision of bankruptcy court. This means that current and future claimants will not have their cases litigated in court. Instead, they become creditors who are eligible for a portion of a settlement fund, and some plaintiffs could receive less compensation than a civil trial may have awarded. Other plaintiffs whose cases were moving more slowly through the system may receive more than they would from a civil court. Although survivors will lose their day in court to speak out, all viable claims will be paid.

Before the Child Victims Act existed, the Diocese of Rockville Centre had created a fund called the Independent Reconciliation and Compensation program to provide settlements to victims of clergy abuse whose cases could no longer be pursued legally. The diocese has already paid approximately $62 million to settle about 350 of these cases. A lawyer who represents a client who had signed a settlement through the program in the week before the bankruptcy filing said the payment may now be delayed.

The parishes and schools under the Diocese of Rockville Centre are not included in the bankruptcy filing, so lawsuits against them can continue separately. Once there are resolutions for the diocese claims, it is possible that cases against the parishes and schools could also be resolved, but bankruptcy does put them at a higher risk.

It is anticipated that the bankruptcy proceedings will last from 18 months to two years.

Getting Legal Help for a Childhood Sexual Abuse Claim

If you or someone you love experienced childhood sexual abuse, you have the right to pursue a civil case. Even if the abuse took place a long time ago, there is a window of opportunity until August 2021 to file a claim. Coming forward as a childhood sexual abuse survivor takes a great deal of courage, and you deserve to be supported and guided throughout the entire legal process.

Hach & Rose, LLP is here to do just that. We are determined advocates for survivors of sexual abuse, and we will work tenaciously to hold the negligent parties accountable. Our team will listen to you with compassion and offer sound legal advice and exceptional representation. We’ll help you seek the justice and compensation you deserve.

Please do not hesitate to get in touch with us to schedule a free and completely confidential case evaluation. Contact a religious institution sexual abuse lawyer – we’re ready to help. You can reach us by phone at (212) 779-0057 or by contacting us online.

Sex Abuse Survivors Have a Second Chance to Hold their Abusers Accountable

Posted on Tuesday, October 27th, 2020 at 3:00 pm    

After spending thirteen years advocating for child sex abuse victims, lawmakers finally saw their hard work pay off. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the Child Victims Act on February 14, 2019. This law gives survivors the opportunity to file civil lawsuits against their abusers up until they turn 55 years old. The previous statute of limitations required survivors to file before reaching the age of 23. Additionally, victims are now permitted to seek felony charges until they turn 28 years old.

The Act also issued a look-back window, giving victims a year to pursue legal action even if the statute of limitations already lapsed. Despite when the sexual abuse occurred, individuals who wanted to sue their abuser had until August 14, 2020, to do so. This provided them the opportunity to find a lawyer and have enough time to build a successful case. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic threw them a curveball, and the whole country had to shut down.

The First Extension to the Child Victims Act Deadline

When coronavirus showed up in the United States, it wasn’t clear how it would affect the economy. Business continued to run, and no one thought twice about heading out of their homes to proceed with their normal schedules. However, two months after the first confirmed case, states began issuing stay at home orders to reduce the spread of the virus. No one was allowed to go anywhere unless it was for an essential reason. In New York, the stay at home order went into effect on March 22, 2020.

During this time, millions of people lost their jobs and struggled to file unemployment claims. The court system put a hold on various lawsuits and wasn’t accepting any new ones under the Child Victims Act. To ensure child sex abuse survivors didn’t lose the opportunity to file lawsuits, Governor Cuomo signed a bill to extend the look-back window. The new deadline was scheduled for January 14, 2021.

Sex Abuse Survivors Have Additional Time to Pursue Legal Action

Although much of the country lifted their stay at home orders and people have resumed their usual routines, the pandemic is still very much a presence in everyone’s lives. COVID-19 cases are still increasing in many areas, and there are restrictions in place to reduce the spread of the virus. As of October 19, a total of 40 million people had tested positive, and there were over 1.1 million deaths.

Since it was clear that the pandemic wasn’t going to end any time soon, Governor Cuomo decided to extend the deadline yet again. The legislation is allowing child sex abuse victims to file claims until August 14, 2021. Much of the country is struggling to find work and can’t afford their daily expenses. With the second deadline extension, people have more time to start earning income again and figuring out how to pay for legal representation.

Thousands of Lawsuits Pending Under the Child Victims Act

Since August 2019, over 720 lawsuits were filed in Western New York under the Child Victims Act, with around 3,800 being filed throughout the state. Most of them are against teachers, Catholic priests, and scout leaders. Some involve law enforcement, family members, and doctors.

In the last two weeks alone, there have been lawsuits filed against Amherst Youth Hockey, Niagara County Sheriff’s Office, and Big Brothers and Sisters of Niagara, Erie, and the Southern Tier.

Most notably, the Buffalo Diocese had to file for bankruptcy in February after receiving over 264 lawsuits alleging sexual abuse. Other dioceses in the state were named as defendants, but new lawsuits have stopped because they also had to file for bankruptcy protection.

The Buffalo News analyzed other lawsuits under the Child Victims Act in Western New York, and they discovered the following:

  • At least one dozen lawsuits against the Buffalo City School District
  • Over 41 lawsuits against Kenmore-Tonawanda School District
  • Around 12 lawsuits against scout leader Robert Eberhardt
  • At least 20 lawsuits against Catholic priest Rev. Donald Becker
  • More than 35 lawsuits against retired Kenmore-Tonawanda teacher Arthur Werner

Contact Hach & Rose, LLP for Assistance Holding Your Abuser Accountable

We understand the trauma you’ve experienced. Child sexual abuse is something that can impact the rest of your life. Although physical scars heal, emotional scars can linger for decades. Many survivors end up with depression, anxiety, and other psychological injuries. It’s hard to move forward and live a normal life.

When you hire us, we’ll fight hard for the justice and compensation you deserve. The Child Victims Act allows you to face your abuser and speak out about what happened. Don’t let them get away with what they did to you any longer. It’s your right to pursue legal action and ensure they suffer the consequences of their actions.

At Hach & Rose, LLP, we have a legal team with more than 100 years of combined experience. Our attorneys, paralegals, and support staff will work hard to resolve your case and reach a favorable outcome efficiently. It’s our goal to recover the maximum financial compensation you deserve. You can depend on us to remain by your side in the fight for justice.

We offer a free consultation to all prospective clients. There’s no risk for you to schedule an appointment and discuss your case with one of our attorneys. We’re happy to review all the details you provide and determine the available legal options.

We know you’re already feeling overwhelmed with the prospect of pursuing a legal case. You might worry about the additional expenses and don’t know if you can afford legal representation. That’s why we take all cases on contingency. That means there are no upfront fees or costs. We won’t charge you unless we’re able to recover compensation. If we lose your case, you won’t have to pay us.

If you were the victim of child sexual abuse, the compassionate and skilled childhood sexual abuse attorneys at Hach & Rose, LLP can help. Call us immediately at (212) 779-0057. We’re available 24/7 to take your call.

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 (212) 779-0057. We’ll be happy to meet with you for a free consultation.

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 (212) 779-0057 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 (212) 779-0057, and we’ll discuss how to get you on the road to recovery.

Contact Hach & Rose, LLP right now at (212) 779-0057 for a FREE, discreet consultation
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