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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 646-685-8045 today.


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 646-685-8045 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 646-685-8045 or by contacting us online.


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 646-685-8045 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

ALERT: THE DEADLINE TO FILE CHARGES IS AUGUST 14, 2021. CONTACT OUR OFFICES NOW FOR A FREE REVIEWAL OF YOUR CASE!

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 646-685-8045, and we’ll discuss how to get you on the road to recovery.


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 646-685-8045 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.

Contact Hach & Rose, LLP right now at 646-685-8045 for a FREE, discreet consultation
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