In our March 11, 2019 and September 18, 2019 Newsletters, we reported on the Child Victims Act signed into law by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo. Among other things, that law granted a one-year reprieve for victims of child sexual abuse whose ability to bring claims were barred by previously applicable statutes of limitation. The one-year window established by that law enabled them to file a lawsuit against the perpetrator and any associated institution (e.g., church, temple, public school, parochial school, private school, workplace, day camp, etc.) on or before August 14, 2020.
However, in the wake of issues and potential hurdles to timely bringing such claims caused by the COVID-19 virus, on August 3, 2020, Governor Cuomo signed legislation (S7082/A9036) extending the look back window for victims of child sexual abuse by a full year. Claims can now be filed under the Child Victims Act until August 14, 2021.
“The Child Victims Act brought a long-needed pathway to justice for people who were abused, and helps right wrongs that went unacknowledged and unpunished for far too long and we cannot let this pandemic limit the ability for survivors to have their day in court,” Governor Cuomo said, adding “as New York continues to reopen and recover from a public health crisis, extending the look back window is the right thing to do and will help ensure that abusers and those who enabled them are held accountable.” Senator Brad Hoylman said, “The Child Victims Act has allowed more than 3,000 brave survivors to come forward to seek justice. Yet it’s clear many New Yorkers who survived child sexual abuse haven’t come forward — especially during the COVID-19 crisis which has upended our courts and economy. I’m extremely grateful to Governor Cuomo for signing our legislation extending the Child Victims Act for an additional year and the leadership of Senate Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins for making the rights of survivors a priority, along with the Assembly sponsor, Linda B. Rosenthal. Most of all, credit goes to the fearless survivors of child sexual abuse, who courageously shared their personal stories in order that more New Yorkers would have the chance to hold their abusers and the institutions that harbored them accountable.”
Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal said, “Survivors of childhood sex abuse can breathe a sigh of relief now that the lookback window of the Child Victims Act has been extended for one more year. After fighting for the law’s passage for 13 long years, many feared the COVID-19 pandemic and the closure of the courts meant that the clock had run out on their opportunity to seek justice. I thank the Governor for signing this bill into law, thus ensuring that all those seeking redress for the heinous abuse perpetrated against them will have until August 14, 2021 to do so.”
Combined with compassion and many decades of litigation experience, the attorneys at Hamburger, Maxson have successfully represented numerous victims of child sexual abuse in processing their claims against the Diocese of Rockville Centre and the Diocese of Brooklyn in connection with an Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program previously established for survivors of child sexual abuse by Diocese clergy. We have the right team necessary to enable our clients to understand their legal rights, to assist them in telling their stories (often for the first time), all while vigorously prosecuting claims on their behalf. It is our ultimate goal in these delicate matters, above all, to assist our clients in not only achieving monetary recovery, but in getting on the path to emotional healing.
Individuals who wish to consider filing a claim for monetary relief are well advised to consult with a knowledgeable attorney. Any individual victim who would like to discuss the Child Victims Act further and consider retaining our law firm to assist and represent them should promptly schedule a free consultation with David N. Yaffe, Esq. at our office. Please call us at 631.694.2400 to schedule.
This newsletter is provided by Hamburger, Maxson & Yaffe, LLP to keep its clients, prospective clients, and other interested parties informed of current legal developments that may affect or otherwise be of interest to them, and to learn more about our firm, our services and the experiences of our attorneys. The information is not intended as legal advice or legal opinion and should not be construed as such