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.

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