If you were – at any point in time – a victim of sex abuse by church priests, pastors, or clergy, a change in New York sexual abuse laws has re-opened and widened the door that lets you file a lawsuit against the Church. We understand that the injuries you have suffered – emotional and otherwise – stem from behavior of the most egregious sort, and you deserve compensation.
Since 1991, Friedman & Simon, L.L.P., has served as passionate advocates for the injured. Call us today for a free consultation with a member of our team. We can have a lawyer that handles church sex abuse cases in Long Island help you build your claim or lawsuit.
In This Article
- New York Child Victims Act Gives Church Sexual Abuse Victims New Rights
- How New York’s New Child Sex Abuse Law Affects Civil Lawsuits
- How New York’s New Child Sex Abuse Law Affects Criminal Charges
- Civil Claims will Be Facilitated By Evidence From NY Diocesan Records
- Our Legal Team Can Help You Prepare Your Case to Hold Your Abusers Accountable
- This is Your Time for Justice as a Victim of Church Sex Abuse
New York Child Victims Act Gives Church Sexual Abuse Victims New Rights
In February 2019, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law the Child Victims Act. The act represents significant changes in rules governing criminal and civil actions for sexual offenses committed against children.
Two key provisions of this new law are:
- Victims of sexual abuse in New York of any agehave one year to file a civil case beginning August 14, 2019, and continuing until August 14, 2021 (Due to COVID, the deadline was extended.) This window is open to victims who were previously time-barred, previously had their case dismissed, or have never filed a civil case.
- After the one-year window, any child sex abuse victim in New York who has not filed a civil case will have until the age of 55 to file a lawsuit against the church or institution.
If you are a victim of church sex abuse in New York, you will want to understand these changes since these new rules are time-sensitive, meaning your window of opportunity will close at some point.
For a free legal consultation with a church sex abuse lawyer serving Long Island, call 516-932-0400
How New York’s New Child Sex Abuse Law Affects Civil Lawsuits
Three key provisions of New York’s Child Victims Act affect civil lawsuits:
Sexual Abuse Victims of Any Age Have One Year to Sue, no Matter when the Abuse Happened
If you were a victim of child sex abuse, you have a one-year window of opportunity to file a civil lawsuit against your abuser and any institution that covered up your abuse. It does not matter how old you are today, and it does not matter how long ago you suffered sexual abuse. New York is opening the legal system’s door to anyone who has had to suffer in silence all these years.
According to The National Law Review, you have one year from the statute’s effective date of August 14, 2019—meaning you have from August 14, 2019 to August 14, 2020 to file your lawsuit if you were previously barred from doing so due to the state’s previous statute of limitations, no matter what your age is now.
For victims who suffered for years before they were able to take the courageous step of filing a claim against their abusers—only to find the statute of limitations had expired—this one-year “look-back” window offers a rare, restorative opportunity.
Sexual Abuse Victims Can Sue Their Abusers Until the Victim’s 55th Birthday
After the one-year period, any victim of child sex abuse who has not filed a civil case now has until they reach the age of 55 to file lawsuits against their abusers and the institutions that covered up the abuse.
This change marks a dramatic departure from the previous statutes of limitations, which stifled legal action from so many victims by giving them only until their 21st birthday to file legal action.
Sexual Abuse Victims Can Sue Public and Private Institutions
You no longer are required to follow notice of claim requirements for bringing a lawsuit against a public institution. If you do not adhere to the strict guidelines imposed by New York’s Court of Claims Act, the court may dismiss your claim against the government body. New York’s new child sex abuse laws explicitly eliminate this requirement.
You may want to reach out to a lawyer from our legal team as soon as possible to begin preparing your case so you can file as early as possible rather than risk having your case dismissed. Call Friedman & Simon, L.L.P., today for a free case review. We can listen to your case about the sex abuse you suffered in a church institution, then have a lawyer from our team serving Long Island represent you.
Long Island Church Sex Abuse Lawyer Near Me 516-932-0400
How New York’s New Child Sex Abuse Law Affects Criminal Charges
As a child victim of church sex abuse, you will likely want to know if and how New York’s new child sex abuse law affects criminal charges against abusers. They do, and here is how:
Victims of Child Sexual Abuse Can Press Criminal Charges Up Until the Victim’s 28th Birthday
You can press criminal charges against your abuser:
- Until you reach your 28th birthday for felony charges
- Until you reach your 25th birthday for misdemeanor charges
This extends the previous criminal statute of limitations or child sexual abuse offenses by five years.
Civil Claims will Be Facilitated By Evidence From NY Diocesan Records
Most New York dioceses have also released the names of credibly accused clergy members to the public, further facilitating civil actions against abusers and institutions.
As of June 23, 2019, the Rockville Centre diocese on Long Island was the only New York diocese to not release its list. In a statement to Newsday, a spokesperson for the diocese said the Rockville Centre diocese will release its list to the public later in 2019 after the diocese has completed its Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program (IRCP).
New York Dioceses’ IRCP Program Seeks to Settle Claims Out of Court
The IRCP uses a mediator appointed by the Archdiocese of New York to reach settlement agreements with church sex abuse survivors with the condition that the victims agree not to sue the diocese.
A church sex abuse lawyer from Friedman & Simon, L.L.P., that serves Long Island, New York, can represent you in this IRCP mediation to maximize compensation from the church. A member of our law firm can speak with you about having one of our lawyers represent you in a mediated settlement agreement via any New York diocese’s IRCP.
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Our Legal Team Can Help You Prepare Your Case to Hold Your Abusers Accountable
As someone who suffered church sex abuse as a child, you understand the magnitude of these changes to how New York empowers sex abuse victims. Please do not let the window of opportunity close on you after you have been made to suffer for so many years with no acknowledgment of these offenses and no restitution for your suffering.
If the idea of building your own case overwhelms you because you do not know where to begin or whether you have a strong enough case, allow our team to help you. Once you become one of our clients, we can help you by:
- Keeping you updated on the nature of your case, including any notices or messages you receive from other parties
- Identifying who you may be able to sue for the sexual abuse you suffered
- Speaking with related parties in your case, including representatives of the Church, investigators, journalists, and other interested parties
- Collecting evidence that can help support your case, such as photos and videos that might have captured the abuse or signs of it, eyewitness testimony, and medical records
- Helping you calculate the value of your damages so that we can estimate how much compensation you may be entitled to receive
Throughout your case, our legal team will be available for advice, guidance, and comfort as you navigate the litigation system. If at any point you discover additional information or evidence that might be relevant to your case, let us know and we will act accordingly.
Now is your time to receive compensation and some measure of justice that, hopefully, will support your healing process.
This is Your Time for Justice as a Victim of Church Sex Abuse
Let a lawyer from our team serving Long Island, New York, help you file a claim against your abuser and the church institution that covered up your sexual abuse. Our multilingual staff stands ready to help you in English, Spanish, Greek, Bengali, Tamil, or Kannada, and our compassionate legal team will guide you to the resolution for which you have waited so patiently.
Call Friedman & Simon, L.L.P., today, so we can avail ourselves of this moment of clarity regarding child sexual abuse and pursue your claim with urgent priority.