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Justice for Victims of Childhood Sexual Abuse

Posted on Saturday, February 22nd, 2020 at 9:14 pm    

Per a new provision under the New York Child Victims Act, the statute of limitations has been temporarily lifted. The bill passed last year, granting a one-year time period for victims of childhood sex abuse to pursue civil claims against their abuser. The bill signed into law by New York Governor George Cuomo is groundbreaking for those who were abused or molested at a young age, but previously unable to file a lawsuit due to New York’s statute of limitations.

Even if it’s decades later, you can still pursue financial compensation. The three components under the Child Victims Act include the following:

  • Regardless of when the abuse occurred, victims are allowed to seek civil action during a one-year window.
  • Victims can pursue a civil claim against their abuser and institutions involved in the crime until the age of 55.
  • Extends New York’s statute of limitations in criminal cases, allowing people who were sexually abused as a child to file a lawsuit until they turn 28 years old.

During the first 24 hours after the passage of the bill, hundreds of people filed lawsuits throughout New York. Currently, law firms around the country represent thousands of victims of sexual abuse who are taking action as a result of the Child Victims Act. They expect even more people to come forward before the August 2020 deadline.

Victims spent many years arguing that the child sex crimes statute of limitations was restrictive. It didn’t take into consideration the amount of time it could take for someone to process the abuse they suffered and feel ready to open up about it. When Gov. Cuomo finally signed the new bill into law, it allowed survivors and their families to seek justice.

Priests Accused of Sexual Abuse under the Child Victims Act

Abusers come in many forms. People you should trust and feel safe around are also capable of horrific crimes. Multiple lawsuits in New York stated priests, camp counselors, teachers, sports coaches, and doctors as the perpetrator of childhood abuse.

In many of the claims, some accusers never came forward before, or even said out loud that they suffered from sexual abuse as a child. Others are targeting their abuser as well as other individuals and entities responsible for covering up the crime. Additionally, many other people tried their case in court once before, but it got dismissed because of the prior statute of limitations laws.

There were over 400 lawsuits filed against the Syracuse Catholic diocese and those associated with the church. Allegations also revealed that the hierarchy hid the truth about sexual abuse occurring under its watch.

Since passing the new bill under the Child Victims Act, victims of more than 1,260 claims of childhood sexual abuse received a total of $228 million from a reconciliation program initiated by eight Catholic dioceses in New York.

Surprising Lawsuits Against Institutions Meant to Protect Us

One of the first ten lawsuits filed in New York was by Gregory Wilson. The 56-year-old man claimed a staff member at the Convalescent Hospital for Children beat and raped him when he was only eight years old.

During his stay, Wilson reported that the abuse occurred more often when he was younger and became less frequent as time progressed. He initially started residing in the hospital because of the abuse he endured by his stepfather.

Despite notifying his family of repeated sexual abuse, they did nothing to remove him from the hospital. He ran away multiple times, but got caught each time and suffered severe punishments.

His story is just one of thousands of instances where a defenseless child could not escape their abuser. The time he spent in the hospital negatively impacted him for decades.

In another case, a plaintiff who wished to remain anonymous alleged that employees from The Children’s Village abused him for years in the mid-1970s. The center houses troubled youths and provides a treatment program. In the lawsuit, the victim stated that staff members and older residents sexually abused him repeatedly during his stay.

After coming forward and filing the lawsuit, the accused abuser found out about it and threatened the plaintiff’s life. According to court documents, the defendant told the plaintiff he would cut him up into pieces if he told anyone else about the sexual abuse.

A 51-year-old man accused a former employee from the Salvation Army’s Youth Center of sexually assaulting him in 1985. At the time, the plaintiff was only 16 years old and homeless. He stated that the abuse first started while he was under the legal guardianship of the youth center.

The victim cited acts of sexual abuse, rape, harassment, and violence during a four-month timeframe. He listed seven defendants in his lawsuit, including the Salvation Army, the Salvation Army of Binghamton (formerly named Open Door Youth Center), and five individuals.

He accused his principal abuser of grooming and taking advantage of him at his most vulnerable stage in life. He also alleged that the Salvation Army should have known about the perpetrator’s prior felony and time spent in prison before hiring him.

Should Lawmakers Allow an Extension?

Talks of possibly extending the deadline under the new Child Victims Act began earlier in the year. A group of legislators, who also survived childhood abuse, released a statement to Gov. Cuomo about a new bill with a new filing deadline.

They said they believed an additional year needed to get added to the window. Gov. Cuomo met the new bill with some hesitation. He stated that the original bill he signed was well-written and provided an adequate amount of time for victims to sue their abusers.

However, the New York legislators argued that most people who suffer from child sex abuse take years, or even decades, to process what happened to them. Some are afraid or ashamed to come forward with their experiences. Others might not have the time or money to pursue legal action.

Additionally, a lot of people still don’t know about their rights under the Child Victims Act. Lawmakers said current campaigns haven’t appropriately notified people of their ability to pursue their case despite the prior statute of limitations laws.

Precedence for Pushing Back the Deadline

During discussions with Gov. Cuomo about the proposed bill, New York lawmakers pointed out similar bills around the country. Almost a dozen states already enacted child abuse laws with extended deadlines for filing suit. Some of them are also considering additional reforms.

Neighboring New Jersey issued a two-year window for victims to sue their attackers and any institutions involved in covering up the abuse. In states like California and Montana, those abused in their younger years can file a civil claim within three years of realizing the harm they suffered.

In addition to the multiple states already passing laws to temporarily ignore strict statutes of limitations, other states are considering taking the same stance. Many legislators believe the lawsuits already filed are just the beginning. They want to give the other victims out there sufficient time to get comfortable with the idea of moving forward with their case.

Standing Up to Your Abuser

You’re not alone in the fight. Many victims of childhood sexual abuse are afraid to admit what happened to them. They are afraid of the consequences of pointing the finger at their abuser and taking legal action. Our lawyers at Hach & Rose, LLP understand that many victims are afraid of filing a lawsuit, and we’re here to help.

When you hire a lawyer to represent you, we will be by your side every step of the way. Lawsuits are complex and challenging to navigate. At Hach & Rose, LLP, we firmly believe in compassionate representation above all else, and we value your well-being.

We are extremely experienced in and dedicated to this specialized area of law, and we understand that litigating these cases is about much more than getting financial compensation. We’re here to help you seek justice, and provide you with all the support you need.

 Hach & Rose, LLP Can Represent You in Your Sexual Abuse Case

Call Hach & Rose, LLP immediately if you or someone you know was the victim of sexual abuse as a child. We’re available 24/7, so you can reach us whenever you need us. We believe in fighting for our clients’ rights and ensuring fair treatment.

We know this is a sensitive topic to discuss. We’ll always treat you with compassion and put your needs first. When you hire us, we’ll review the details of your claim and determine the best course of action moving forward. You can depend on us to be there for you from beginning to end.

With over 100 years of combined experience, we have the skills needed to seek justice for our clients. Call us at (212) 779-0057 to schedule your free, confidential consultation. There is no risk or obligation when you receive legal advice from us. We’re here to listen and answer your questions.


Should the Child Victims Act Deadline Be Extended?

Posted on Sunday, February 9th, 2020 at 9:00 pm    

Since the Child Victims Act (CVA) passed in New York on February 14, 2019, thousands of victims of child sexual abuse filed lawsuits against their attackers.

The law lifted the strict statute of limitations on child sex crimes, allowing victims who were previously barred from action to file criminal charges against their abusers. The three main points of the CVA law follow:

  • Opens a one-year “look back” window for anyone who was the victim of a sex crime as a child to pursue a civil claim, regardless of how long ago it happened. This affects those who were unable to file a lawsuit under the old law.
  • Allows legal action against perpetrators and institutions that enabled the crimes until the victim turns 55.
  • Extends New York’s statute of limitations in criminal cases, giving individuals the opportunity to pursue a felony case against their sexual abuser up until the age of 28.

With the one-year deadline quickly approaching in August, lawmakers pushed for an extension. If the new bill gets signed, it will give victims of molestation and sexual abuse an additional year to come forward and pursue civil action. Those who back the bill say it’s a necessary move because many survivors don’t know about the law yet, and some need more time to come forward.

Backlash over Governor Cuomo’s Hesitation to Support the Extension

In a joint statement issued by state lawmakers on March 4, they asked New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to consider passing the new bill. Cuomo wasn’t sure it made sense to issue an extension of the deadline. He said the one-year window was appropriate, and that’s why the law issued that specific deadline in the first place.

Multiple New York assemblywomen and a Senator, who all survived child sexual abuse, responded to Governor Cuomo that the 1,600 cases filed so far were just the beginning. They asserted that there are many other victims out there that deserve justice.

Speaking from experience, they also stated how difficult it is for a lot of people to open up about their abuse. For some, it takes years to say it out loud, let alone pursue criminal charges against their abuser. They asked that Cuomo give victims more time to come forward and seek justice when they’re ready.

The lawmakers’ statement to the Governor followed a backlash from multiple survivors throughout New York. They pointed to the fact that a lot of people are struggling to retain legal counsel or don’t realize the new law even exists. They also pointed out the state’s lack of campaigns informing the public of their rights under the Child Victims Act.

Other States Setting the Tone for the Child Victims Act Window

New York is not alone is its discussions of laws related to childhood sexual abuse and statute of limitations. Multiple states already passed laws allowing a specific window for filing lawsuits, some as long as two years, and many more are considering legislation similar to New York’s Child Victims Act.

New Jersey

Governor Phil Murphy signed a law allowing victims of child abuse to sue until they turn 55 years old. Those who couldn’t pursue compensation because of the strict statute of limitations now get a two-year window to file a lawsuit against their attacker and the institutions involved.

California

An amendment to the civil statute of limitations and passage of the California Child Victims Act allow the following:

  • Victims can file a lawsuit within three years of realizing their injury or condition resulted from their childhood sexual abuse.
  • For those whose statute of limitations expired, they have the opportunity of a one-year window to file a civil suit against their abuser regardless of any current statute of limitations.

Georgia

State lawmakers are considering reviving the Hidden Predator Act, which provides a one-year window for victims of any age to file a lawsuit against their alleged childhood sexual abuse perpetrator and any entity associated with the abuse.

Montana

A bill that changed Montana’s sexual abuse laws includes the following provisions:

  • Victims whose statute of limitations had passed could sue their abuser within a one-year window.
    Childhood sexual assault victims would have until age 27 to file a lawsuit.
  • A civil claim could get filed within three years of discovering the victim suffered harm from their childhood abuse.

Hawaii

Under the new legislation, passed last year, victims of childhood molestation and sexual abuse can file a lawsuit until April 24, 2020. The statute extension allows individuals of any age to seek justice against any person, institution, business, or corporation involved in the crime.

New York Organizations Under Scrutiny

A lawsuit filed in January 2020 against Boy Scout leader, school district employee, and former village mayor Victor Sine made headlines. The plaintiff, Scott Coats, alleged that Sine sexually abused him in the 1970s. Despite reporting the abuse to the Boy Scouts of America and the Cayuga County District Attorney’s Office in 1999, no one did anything about the accusations.

Under the Child Victims Act, he’s now able to pursue action for the horror he had to endure when he was only 13-years old. In a recent news conference, he spoke publicly for the first time about his allegations against Sine, who died in 2018.

After coming forward, Coats discovered that multiple people were aware of Sine’s abuse against children. He believed that the people who knew about the abuse were either bullied by Sine or afraid to speak up about their suspicions.

Local Cases Against the Diocese Under the Child Victims Act

A majority of cases filed in New York were against the Syracuse Catholic Diocese. Mostly filed in Onondaga County, 45 cases cited allegations under the Child Victims Act. In May, the diocese paid 79 individuals of sex abuse a total of $11 million on behalf of its Independent Reconciliation Compensation Program.

In additional lawsuits filed against the Syracuse diocese, eight priests accounted for two-thirds of the cases. The diocese publicly acknowledged all but one priest as receiving credible allegations of sexual abuse against a child. Between the eight priests, there were a total of 26 claims filed.

In total, there were lawsuits filed against 28 diocese employees. Most of them were priests, but claims also were brought against a janitor and group home worker. Nine priests accused of committing child sex abuse were missing from the diocese’s credible allegations list. One priest got reinstated after the victim decided not to cooperate in the investigation.

Of all the claims against Catholic priests, 21 of them involve abuse that allegedly happened in the 1970s. The oldest claim occurred in 1953, while the most recent allegation stemmed from abuse in 1998. Claims against the church involve individuals who were between 4- and 17- years old when the sexual abuse first started.

Help for Survivors of Sexual Abuse

If you or a loved one were the victims of childhood sexual abuse, it’s your right to seek justice against the perpetrator. The attorneys at Hach & Rose, LLP understand the devastating effects of abuse. It can negatively impact every area of your life and create long-lasting emotional pain.

With the one year “look back” window, you’re allowed to seek compensation, no matter when your abuse occurred. While we recognize that financial compensation can never fully make up for the trauma you’ve suffered, we hope it can help you find a new path forward.

You’re not in this alone. When you hire us, we’ll walk you through every step of your lawsuit, so you understand what to expect. Our compassionate, attentive attorneys will be by your side from start to finish of your case, and we’ll fight hard to pursue a fair financial award and ensure your abuser gets punished for their actions.

Our team of legal professionals is available 24/7, so you can reach us when you need us. We provide a free, confidential consultation to all prospective clients. There’s no risk or obligation in meeting with us.

The lawyers from Hach & Rose, LLP have over 100 years of combined experience, and we’ll use the full weight of our skills and resources to seek justice for you. Call us at (212) 779-0057 today, or contact us online.


Anonymity For Victims Under the Child Victims Act and Proposed Legislation in New Jersey

Posted on Monday, December 23rd, 2019 at 10:14 pm    

On August 14, 2019, New York opened a one-year “look back” period to allow victims of child sex abuse to file a claim under the new Child Victims Act (CVA), even if the statute of limitations under older laws had already expired.

Since then, over 1,000 victims across New York have filed lawsuits under CVA, with claims dating back as far as the 1950s. Although suits have been filed statewide, the most have been filed in Erie County (almost 300 suits), which is home to the Buffalo Diocese of the Catholic Church. Large numbers of claims have also been filed in Manhattan (over 250 cases) and Brooklyn (more than 150 cases).

Advocates push for anonymity for victims

Many of the victims want their names to be kept secret and have filed suits under aliases like John Doe. The victims’ lawyers contend that state laws protect the privacy of victims and having to release their names might keep victims from seeking the justice they deserve or even pursuing mental health treatment. They also insist that publishing the victims’ names in public court documents would embarrass them even further, and they shouldn’t have to endure even more trauma on top of the abuse they’ve already suffered.

This has sparked a legal debate, with accused organizations claiming they have a legal right to know the names of their accusers. Defendants, such as public school districts, say it is impossible to accurately investigate the claims and properly defend themselves without knowing who filed the suit.

Public institutions like school districts also claim that the general public has a right to know the plaintiffs’ names because taxpayer money would have to be used to pay verdicts or settlements. In November 2019, a Manhattan judge ruled that victims did not have to release their names in a suit against the Northeast Province of Jesuit Brothers. However, it’s difficult to know how the ruling will impact other cases because the Jesuits are a private institution – not a government entity – plus other state courts are not bound by the Manhattan ruling.

New York lawmakers propose fund for child sexual abuse victims

Four New York state legislators have proposed a bill that would establish the “Child Victim Foundation Fund.” The lawmakers say it would help give every victim the ability to pursue justice because they could use the fund to pay for legal services. They’ve recommended that money for the fund would be generated by requiring abusers convicted of child sex crimes to pay an additional fee and by giving taxpayers the option to donate their tax refund to the fund.

Opponents claim the legislation has flaws that must be fixed before the bill can be considered. For example, they say that even with these funds, victims might have difficulty finding legal representation unless they’re suing a large institution. Additionally, opponents have argued that victims should be able to use the fund for expenses beyond legal fees, like therapy and medical bills.

The bill is the latest in a series of actions that New York’s government has taken to handle the new legislation and its impacts. The New York Office of Court Administration has also implemented special training for judges who will hear CVA cases and created an expedited discovery schedule for these cases, along with other initiatives.

CVA-inspired law in New Jersey enables victims across the country to seek justice

New York’s sexual abuse law has inspired similar legislation in other states, including laws passed in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Under New Jersey’s Victims’ Rights Bill, a temporary two-year window opened in early December 2019 that allows older victims of sexual abuse as children to sue their alleged attackers and the institutions that protected their attackers.

Victims now have until they turn 55 or seven years from the date they realize the abuse harmed them – whichever date is later – to file a civil sexual abuse suit in New Jersey. Under the previous statute of limitations, victims only had two years from their 18th birthday or the date they became aware their injuries were caused by abuse to file a claim. The new law also removes the requirement that the alleged attacker must have been acting in loco parentis (in place of a parent) in order to be liable. This provision had previously made it difficult for victims to take legal action against public schools.

In addition to expanding claims against local schools. it’s expected that the New Jersey law will also spark a wave of suits against organizations like the Catholic Church and the Boy Scouts. Many organizations were previously protected from suits under the Charitable Immunity Act N.J.S.A. 2A:53A-7. However, under the new law, nonprofit organizations can be held liable for sex abuse against children if it’s found they negligently hired, supervised, or retained an abuser. Local Catholic officials have even started selling property and increasing insurance policies to prepare for the financial impact of suits, according to local news reports.

In nearby Pennsylvania, the governor signed a similar bill in late November 2019 that ends the time limit for criminal charges for future cases, invalidates secrecy agreements that keep victims from speaking out, and increases penalties for mandated reporters who fail report child sexual abuse. The law also allows older victims to file civil suits up until they turn 55.

However, the bill does not establish a “look back” window like those in New York and New Jersey to allow older victims to file claims. Proponents of the legislation hope to use a constitutional amendment to implement a “look back” window in Pennsylvania as well. However, the measure would need to be approved in the 2021-2022 legislative session before it could be placed on the ballot, then voters would also need to approve the amendment in a statewide referendum.

Meanwhile, sexual abuse victims across the nation are exploring the possibility that they might be able to file lawsuits under New Jersey’s law, no matter where they reside currently. People who suffered sexual abuse during trips to New Jersey for things like Catholic church events might be able to sue the archdiocese that organized the trip or owned the property where abuse took place.

For example, a judge in Atlantic City ruled that a man could sue the Archdiocese of Philadelphia in New Jersey courts since his abuse took place in New Jersey. Similarly, a group of sisters are also proceeding with lawsuits against the Newark Archdiocese and Harrisburg Diocese. They allege a priest was allowed to transfer to Harrisburg and abuse them there, even after Newark clergy knew the priest had sexually abused children in New Jersey for years.

Additionally, people who suffered sexual abuse as children under an organization based in New Jersey might be able to sue the group, even if the abuse took place in another state. For example, any abuse linked to the Boy Scouts might merit a case under New Jersey’s law – no matter where the abuse took place – because the organization was headquartered in that state between 1954 and 1979.

How to get help in your sexual abuse case

Sexual abuse is traumatic and impacts all areas of your life. If you or a loved one were sexually abused as a child, you have a legal right to pursue justice and compensation – even if the abuse took place a long time ago. Courts have recognized that it sometimes takes years before victims understand the full effect of the abuse. However, to win a child sexual abuse lawsuit, you’ll need to gather enough evidence to convince the court of your claim, which can be difficult for abuse that happened many years ago if you are trying to pursue a claim all by yourself.

At Hach & Rose, LLP, we understand the pain you’re going through, and we don’t want you to have to face this traumatizing event all alone. We have a depth of experience helping sexual abuse survivors just like you sue their attackers, so we know how to handle all aspects of your case with care and sensitivity you need.

The trusted Hach & Rose, LLP team can help you understand your legal options and help you track down witnesses and evidence to prove your injuries – even for abuse that happened many decades ago. Meanwhile, our compassionate attorneys will help guide you through this devastating process and give you the empathy and respect you deserve.

With over 100 years of combined experience, our knowledgeable lawyers have the skills and resources to tackle your case. Let us help you pursue the justice and compensation you’re owed and get on the road to recovery. Contact us today to schedule a free and confidential consultation by calling (212) 779-0057 or contacting us online.


Alleged Epstein victims and former youth athletes seek justice through CVA

Posted on Saturday, December 21st, 2019 at 10:20 pm    

Alleged Epstein victims and former youth athletes seek justice through CVA

Over a thousand child abuse victims have filed lawsuits under New York’s Child Victims Act (CVA) since the law changed the statute of limitations for making claims. Recent claimants have ranged from former youth athletes to victims of financier Jeffrey Epstein, while accused organizations have included a variety of public institutions.

CVA enables more victims of Jeffrey Epstein’s sex trafficking ring to pursue justice

The law has even been mentioned in a series of cases linked to the infamous financier Jeffrey Epstein and his sex trafficking schemes involving underage girls and rich, powerful men. Federal criminal charges against Epstein have ended since he died from an apparent suicide in jail, but civil claims might still be possible against his estate, which is reported to be at least $500 million.

Shortly after CVA’s one-year “look back” window opened, Jennifer Araoz filed a lawsuit against Epstein’s estate, claiming that she was forced to give him erotic massages in his Upper East Side townhouse and he exposed himself and raped her when she was in high school. Araoz alleges that she didn’t report the abuse earlier because of intimidation by Epstein, and she was so ashamed about the attack that she eventually dropped out of school. Lawyers for other Epstein victims have said they plan to pursue lawsuits against his estate as well.

In another case, Virginia Giuffre has suggested that she might pursue a sexual abuse case against lan Dershowitz, Epstein’s personal attorney, under the new CVA statute of limitations. Giuffre has repeatedly alleged that Epstein lent her to Dershowitz for sex.

Giuffre is already suing Dershowitz for defamation after he repeatedly denied her claims and called her a liar. Dershowitz has countersued Giuffre for defamation, plus his lawyer has stated that Giuffre wouldn’t even qualify for a CVA claim. He claims that Giuffre’s previous statements that she was not a minor when Epstein began grooming her for sex trafficking show that she wasn’t a child at the time that she alleges Dershowitz abused her.

Allegations mount against former youth sports coaches

Multiple men have filed lawsuits against Tony Sagona, alleging he sexually abused them as children and drugged them with cocaine and alcohol while he was coaching Babe Ruth League baseball in the 1970s and 1980s in Staten Island. The victims say that Sagona designated several athletes as “special projects,” which they had thought was an honor and meant the coach saw them as skilled players. However, many of these “special projects” were also the children that Sagona allegedly assaulted.

Beyond coaching Little League teams, Sagona also coached at St. Patrick’s Elementary School and an American Legion-sponsored baseball team in Staten Island before he left for New Jersey in the 1980s. Until recently, he was still coaching the Jersey Shore Warriors – an Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) basketball team in Morganville, New Jersey.

At least two former Warriors players have filed claims against Sagona. These victims allege that Sagona threatened that he would cut them from the team unless they performed sexually explicit acts, and one victim claims Sagona demoted him and reduced his playing time after he resisted the coach’s attempt to rape him. Sagona has been credited with jumpstarting the careers of multiple teenage basketball players who later played in the NBA, although none of those famous players have accused him of wrongdoing.

Similarly, at least eight cases have been filed against Edwin “Ted” Gaynor, a former youth sports coach at multiple schools in Westchester in the 1960s and 1970s. The most recent case alleges Gaynor abused a boy at the Church of Saint Bernard’s grammar school in White Plains. The victim reportedly didn’t say anything about the incident as a child because he was afraid his father would make him stop playing sports.

In other cases, Gaynor’s former students allege that he sexually abused them while they were involved in sports at Immaculate Heart of Mary School in Scarsdale, and he even tried to stay connected with them later in life. Gaynor also worked at Holy Rosary in Hawthorne and a summer camp in Tarrytown, but no claims have been filed in relation to those sites so far.

Troubled youth victimized at home meant to protect them

An anonymous plaintiff had filed a lawsuit against Bob Ellis of The Children’s Village in Dobbs Ferry, saying the accused sexually abused him and allowed older residents to abuse him during his stay at the home for troubled youth in the 1970s. The victim also alleges that Ellis threatened to cut him up and throw him in a landfill if he reported the attack. This is the first claim under CVA against the children’s home, which is famous for housing children of immigrants after they were separated from adults at the border in 2018.

Child sex abuse suits against Catholic churches and clergy might go all the way to the top

Estimated that at least 5,000 suits might be filed in New York, California, and New Jersey against the Catholic church alone, with compensation surpassing national averages for each victim. It’s yet to be seen if victims will compromise and go for collective settlements or take a chance and pursue individual trials, where payouts could be astronomical, but verdicts in victims’ favor might be less certain.

Bishop Richard Malone of Buffalo finally resigned in early December after months of pressure from the church. His resignation comes after a whistleblower alleged that Malone kept secret files about abusive priests and helped protect their jobs despite admitting that the priests were dangerous. Malone had published a list in March 2018 of 42 priests who had been accused of sexually abusing children, but outrage erupted against him after his assistant later revealed that Malone’s draft list originally had over 100 names and included priests who were still active.

The Diocese of Buffalo is currently using proceeds from the sale of Malone’s $1.5 million mansion to help pay victims. However, there’s concern the diocese might have to file bankruptcy under the weight of sexual abuse claims like the Diocese of Rochester did earlier this year.

If the diocese does declare bankruptcy, lawsuits and payments to victims will be suspended, and federal courts will decide payouts for each victim alongside the diocese’s other debts. According to a study by Penn State, victims receive an average of only $288,168 from organizations that have filed bankruptcy – much less than payouts from successful trials, which range into the millions.

Meanwhile, at least 30 people have filed suit against the Middletown-based Carmelite order. The lawsuits claim that Rev. George Boxelaar sexually abused them in the 1970s and 1980s while he was working in Orange County at Holy Cross Church in Wawayanda, Our Lady of the Scapular Church in Unionville, and Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Middletown. Boxelaar died in 1990 in his native Holland. The Carmelite Fathers order is trying to fight the lawsuits, as they say Boxelaar acted on his own outside the scope of his employment, and the order did not know the abuse was happening.

Recent suits against the Catholic church have the potential to expand the reach of these laws much further. Lawsuits in Buffalo and Minnesota contend that the Vatican – a sovereign state that serves as the world headquarters of the church – might be liable for abuse by church officials since clergy fall under the Vatican’s authority.

Additionally, actions allegedly ordered by the Vatican might be used in future cases. For example, an ongoing case in New Jersey claims that the Vatican’s 1962 “Instruction on the Manner of Proceeding in Cases of Solicitation” instructed clergy to keep accusations under wraps and threatened that anyone who spoke out would be excommunicated. So far, it’s difficult to know how U.S. courts might proceed with these types of suits against the foreign body.

How to get justice for your case under the Child Victims Act

The Child Victims Act and similar laws passed recently in surrounding states are empowering survivors of sexual abuse to get justice for the devastating acts committed against them when they were children. Special clauses in these laws have opened up “look back” windows that give older victims a limited amount of time to file lawsuits for abuse committed long ago. However, the deadline to file these claims will not last forever.

If you or your loved one were the victim of sexual abuse, do not wait a moment longer to get justice. The trusted attorneys at Hach & Rose, LLP are here to help you pursue maximum compensation for your injuries and help you get on the road to recovery. With over 100 years of combined experience, our knowledgeable attorneys have helped clients across New York get the justice they deserved after suffering from others’ inhumane and illegal actions, and we want to do the same for you.

Contact Hach & Rose, LLP today and see how our compassionate attorneys can help you. Call us today at (212) 779-0057 or contact us online to schedule your free consultation.

 

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