Last week, New York saw a big moment for individuals who were sexually abused as children. On January 25, the State Legislature passed a bill that will increase the statute of limitations for child sexual abuse cases.
The Child Victims Act will allow people who were victimized as minors to seek prosecution against their abusers until age 55 in civil cases in New York, which more than doubles the state’s previous time limit of age 23. Those pursuing a criminal case against their abusers may do so until age 28. Additionally, under the bill, victims of any age now have a one-year window to come forward to prosecute their abusers.
While the change in the state law has positive implications for all victims of child sex abuse, it is particularly relevant to those involved in the New York clergy sex abuse scandal. In Buffalo alone, more than 100 members of the area clergy were publicly and credibly accused of sexual misconduct with a minor. About 400 members have been accused in the whole state. Overall, 5.8 percent of American clerics have been accused of sexual abuse between 1950 and 2016. Since an estimated minimum of 7,000 clerics have served in the New York Archdiocese since 1950, either clergy sex abuse is largely under-reported in this state, or hundreds of sex offenders here have never been exposed. That also means that there are likely many victims who have never voiced their abuse.
The new law in New York will not only better protect those who have already come forward, but it may also motivate others to expose their abusers in the future and seek justice, now that the legal time frame is longer.
At Milestone, we’re proud of our home state for providing victims with more time to seek justice against those who committed these heinous acts. Our team works with people who have brought these and all kinds of lawsuits and want to ensure their monetary recovery is beneficial for as long as possible. When the civil justice community comes together to better protect Americans from their wrongdoers, our team is ready to provide the best financial planning services as those plaintiffs pursue justice.
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).