Some Catholic schools in the area are among hundreds that could find themselves in the crosshairs as hundreds of child sex abuse lawsuits were filed across New York on the first day of a new one-year window for older molestation cases.
On Wednesday, Aug. 14, a provision of New York’s Child Victims Act took effect, making the start of the one-year period when alleged victims can file claims against alleged abusers and institutions that protected them, no matter how long ago the abuse may have occurred.
Victims of sexual abuse in New York previously were required to file any civil lawsuits before they turned 23. Under the new law, anyone under the age of 55 can file a lawsuit, and during the one-year window, older victims can also make claims.
According to The New York Times, thousands of lawsuits may be filed during the next year, with hundreds already being filed. New York was one of 20 states that changed their statute of limitation laws regarding child sexual abuse cases this year.
More than a dozen lawsuits have reportedly been filed involving schools in Westchester, Rockland and Orange counties.
Cases have also been filed against each of New York’s eight Roman Catholic Church dioceses, the Boy Scouts of America, some schools and hospitals.
In response to the influx of cases, New York State has designated 45 judges statewide that will hear cases, some of which date back decades.
“The revived Child Victims Act cases are critically important cases, raising numerous challenging legal issues that must be adjudicated as consistently and expeditiously as possible across the state,” New York Chief Administrative Judge Lawrence Marks said. “We are fully committed to providing appropriate and sufficient resources to achieve that goal.”
The one-year window where the statute of limitations will be lifted on these cases in New York ends on Aug. 14, 2020.
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