New York’s previous law allowed victims until the age of 23 to seek criminal charges against their abusers. Under the new law, known as the Child Victims Act, victims can sue until the age of 55 and seek criminal charges up until age 28. Also under this act will be a one-year litigation window during which victims can file lawsuits that are currently prevented by the statute of limitations.
New York’s new legislation will empower many abuse survivors whose cases were dismissed in the past or who never took legal action because the statute of limitation had passed. This won’t take away the damage caused by the abuse they endured, but it will help make it easier for survivors to carry on with the process of moving forward.
The Catholic church was fervently against the one-year litigation window because of the possible costs they they would need to pay as a result. In California a similar law was passed in 2002, resulting in the Catholic church having to pay $1.2 billion in settlements.
The New York Archdiocese along with the dioceses of Brooklyn and Rockville Centre have each started a compensation program for those who have been victimized by diocesan priests or deacons. The Syracuse diocese has also followed up with a similar program. $40 million have been awarded from the New York Archdiocese alone. However, taking compensation or services from established funds may prevent survivors from being able to participate in future compensation recovery efforts, even when the laws change in favor of victims’ rights.
Survivors of child sexual abuse should seek legal advice from an experienced attorney before accepting compensation or signing any agreements. Survivors have a right to compensation for medical and psychological costs, lost wages, pain and suffering, among others. Call us now.
Other states have passed similar laws recently to expand the time frames victims are able to sue within. Massachusetts allows victims up until the age of 35 to sue, and Ohio and Pennsylvania allow up until age 30.
At the Mocco Law Group, we handle our clients’ cases with efficiency and compassion. Our team of skilled attorneys are experienced in helping survivors of sexual abuse through the legal process in a manner that is mindful of the traumatic nature of these abuses. We handle a wide array of cases, not only relating to religious organizations but also private schools, summer camps, sports leagues, medical facilities, and more. Contact us now for a consultation with a trusted attorney from our team.