Today is a big day for victims of sexual assault and abuse in New York State. Anyone, regardless of their age or how long they have been barred by the state’s statute of limitations, can now file a civil lawsuit against their attacker.
The Child Victims Act also affords New York victims more protections moving forward. In addition to the one-year litigation window that starts today, people who were victimized as children may now seek civil prosecution against their abusers until age 55. The new rule more than doubles New York’s previous time limit of age 23. The legislation also eliminates the need to file a notice of claim for sexual offenses committed against a minor, and it also requires judicial training with respect to crimes involving the sexual abuse of minors.
The courts are expecting an influx of possibly thousands of sexual abuse lawsuits. Among the named defendants will likely be the New York Archdiocese and Boy Scouts of America. An alleged victim of the late Jeffrey Epstein has already come forward to file suit against his estate — as well as against Ghislaine Maxwell and three other individuals — in the few hours the Child Victims Act has been in effect.
For those who were previously silenced by New York’s statute of limitations, the Child Victims Act offers a new opportunity to come forward and seek justice against their attackers. Hopefully, this one-year window to file suit will give thousands of sexual abuse victims the courage to come forward in the state.
A West Point graduate where he served as captain and military aviator, John Bair continues his commitment to our country through his efforts within the settlement planning industry. He has represented families of victims lost in the Flight 3407 crash, offered pro bono services to the families of 9/11 victims and drafted the first consumer protection bill for plaintiffs (H.R. 3699).