May 21, 2020

RULING UNDER CHILD VICTIMS ACT GIVES HOPE TO NY SEXUAL ABUSE SURVIVORS

A New York state judge’s ruling supporting the Child Victims Act gives hope to those who have filed sexual abuse claims under the law’s one-year look back window. On May 11, Justice Steven M. Jaeger rejected a bid by the Diocese of Rockville Centre to dismiss 44 sexual abuse claims filed against the diocese under the Child Victims Act.

The Long Island Roman Catholic diocese argued that the sexual abuse lawsuits against them violated the due process clause of New York’s constitution. However, the court said the Diocese of Rockville Centre’s argument was not persuasive and, given the intent of the state legislature, would lead to unreasonable results.

"Based on this legislative history, the court finds the Child Victims Act is a reasonable response to remedy the injustice of past child sexual abuse," Justice Jaeger stated. "Accordingly, it does not violate [the diocese's] right to due process under the New York state constitution and that branch of the motion to dismiss is denied."

Like other institutions in the Catholic Church, the diocese faces allegations that its clergy abused children and covered up the abuse for decades. With the passing of New York’s Child Victims Act, dozens of claims against the Diocese of Rockville Centre have come forward to hold the diocese accountable for their crimes.

The Child Victims Act, which went into effect in August, opened a one-year look back window for child sex abuse victims to file claims that may have otherwise been barred by the state’s statute of limitations. Last week New York Governor Andrew Cuomo extended the Child Victims Act’s one-year window given the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the U.S.’s judicial system. Cuomo indicated that the fallout from COVID-19 hindered survivors’ ability to file claims given the reduction in court services. Instead of ending in August, now the lookback window ends January 14, 2021.

Attorneys representing sexual abuse victims in New York see Judge Jaeger’s ruling as a sign of hope for victims of sexual abuse. By upholding the Child Victims Act, this could mean hundreds of other claims brought forward under this look back window could be upheld and entitle sexual abuse survivors to justice. Many are hoping this ruling will set precedence for other institutions who may challenge New York’s look back window.

Were You Sexually Abused as a Child in New York?

If you were sexually abused as a child in New York, your options for justice may have extended and expanded given Judge Jaeger’s recent ruling. Coming forward now while the look back window is open is crucial. After the January 14 deadline, your chance to hold your abusers accountable for their crimes may be forever removed. To learn about your legal options and speak with a caring legal professional, call us today. We offer free, no-obligation case evaluations to see if you may be eligible to compensation for your abuse.

The individuals featured on this website do not depict actual abuse survivors and are used for illustrative purposes only.
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