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Gair, Gair, Conason, Rubinowitz, Bloom, Hershenhorn, Steigman & Mackauf is a New York Plaintiff's personal injury law firm specializing in automobile accidents, construction accidents, medical malpractice, products liability, police misconduct and all types of New York personal injury litigation.

Articles Posted in Sexual Abuse

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New York Governor Andrew CuomoVictims of  Child Sexual Abuse in New York have been granted an extra year to file a lawsuit against their offenders independently of when the crime was committed.  In February 2019, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law the New York Child Victim Act that allows victims of child sexual abuse in New York State to bring a civil claim against their abuser and institution until they turn 55 year old. Victims of child sexual abuse who were older than 55 year old when the Child Victim Act was passed were offered a one year “look-back window” to file a lawsuit against their aggressor and their institution independently of their age and when the abuse occurred.  As the coronarvirus crisis hit the US, the State of New York went into a lock-down period between March and June. All activities slowed down and Court services were limited to essential proceedings.  To make sure all child victims of sexual abuse were provided enough time to bring a civil lawsuit against their abuser, Andrew Cuomo  previously extended the look back window to January 14 202 1 on May 8. (see previous blog). However New York lawmakers felt that the January deadline was not giving enough time to victims to seek compensation and last June they unanimously agreed and signed a bill to extend the look-back window to August 14 2021. The bill was signed yesterday by Andrew Cuomo. “As New York continues to reopen and recover from a public health crisis, extending the look back window is the right thing to do and will help ensure that abusers and those who enabled them are held accountable” Governor Cuomo said.

Since the Child Victim Acts was signed on February 14 2019, more than 3000 victims of child sexual abuse came forward and filed a lawsuit against their abuser as well as the institution that allowed the abuse to happen

A large bulk of the lawsuits were filed against various New York dioceses of the Catholic Church. New York Public Schools and other children institutions such as scouts and camps have also been been sued.

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A catholic priest from New York City has been arrested after sharing pornographic material with a 15-year-old boy. Rev Francis Hughes was arrested yesterday morning by the FBI after he allegedly shared sexually explicit text messages and pictures with a teenager from Westchester. The FBI found half a dozen pictures that the priest and the boy exchanged since last February. The FBI also indicated that they connected several times on “Grindr”, a dating app for gay, bi and trans people. The priest asked the teen “How would you like to be spoiled by your grandpa?” and suggested to make the relationship “a regular thing”.

The 65 year old priest told the FBI that he knew that the boy was underage. He also admitted that he previously met a teen boy on school ground in Queens and had sex with him. He also tried multiple times to have sexual relationships with other boys.

Father Francis Hughes was removed from his post of pastor at the St. Pancras Roman Catholic Church in Glendale, Queens.

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LoryProfessorDanielPollackPeer on peer child sexual abuse occurs when a child sexually abuses another child. In the US, States and even regions have different views and legislation when it comes to defining “peers” and if a sexual act between teenagers is consensual and legal or punishable.  In a recent article in Youth Today, Daniel Pollack M.S.S.A. (M.S.W.), Esq., a professor at the School of Social Work, Yeshiva University, New York City and Lori S. Kornblum, Esq. an adjunct faculty member at Marquette University Law School and an instructor at Milwaukee Area Technical College (Paralegal Department) explain why the law and terminology should be standardized when if comes to  sexual activities among teenagers.

While it is quite common for teenagers to have a sexual relationship with each other, their relationship can be legal or illegal depending in which state it occurs.  In many states teens under a certain age are unable to consent and sexual activity under that age is criminalized as “statutory rape”. The age of consent often varies between 16 and 18 year old. However because many teenagers below the age of consent are having sexual relationships, many States have adopted “Romeo and Juliet” laws that decriminalize sex between two teens as long as it stays between a specific age-gap, The age-gap however differs from one State to the other and can go from 2 years to 6 years. The age-gap laws only apply if the sex was consensual between both teens and no violence is involved.

According to the authors of the article the age-gap laws tend to make more uniform the manner how similar aged teens having a sexual relationship are prosecuted or not and put in place general community standards in regards to this particular behavior. The age-gap laws tend to standardize punishment but don’t address larger issues and questions such as whether  older teens should have sex with pre-teens.

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A NYPD school safety agent was arrested for sexually abusing a child within the confines of the 90th Precinct in Brooklyn. The police announced on Monday that 43 year old Jeanisidor Jean Baptiste  was arrested in Brooklyn, NYC, for child sexual abuse. The arrest was the result of an internal investigation by the NYPD that found that the school safety agent sexually abused a young family member for years. The abuse started when the victim was 5 year old and lasted 4 years. The victim who is now 17 year old was sexually assaulted multiple times between 2008 and 2012, including at the Flatbush home of the predator.

The school safety agent was charged with rape, sexual abuse, predatory sexual assault against a child, forcible touching, endangering the welfare of a child, course of sexual conduct against a child, and criminal sexual act.

Read more in the NY Daily News

 

 

 

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Linda Rosenthal Sponsor of the NY Child Victim Act
Child sexual abuse victims in New York State and their advocates are expecting Governor Cuomo to sign a bill extending the Child Victims Act look-back window to August 14 2021.

The NY Child Victim Act was enacted on August 14 2019, allowing victims of child sexual abuse to bring a lawsuit against their abusers until the victim reaches the age of 55 year old. For those who are older than 55 year old and suffered sexual abuse in their childhood, the new law came with a one year look-back window during which any child sexual abuse victim in New York State, no matter their actual age and when the abuse occured, could file a lawsuit against their oppressor and/or the institution that hired them such as religious institutions, schools, boy scouts, etc.

Court services reduced to essential proceedings online during Coronavirus lock-down prevented child sexual abuse victims to file a lawsuit

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helpWell before the passage of the Child Victims Act, the child sexual abuse attorneys at Gair, Gair, Conason, Rubinowitz, Bloom, Hershenhorn, Steigman & Mackauf have been fighting for justice on behalf of victims of sexual abuse.  Our top results speak to our commitment to ensuring survivors of sexual abuse receive justice.

It is for these reasons that we support the recent extension of time to January 14, 2021, for survivors of child sexual abuse to file a claim for monetary damages against their abusers and the institutions that allowed the abuse to happen.

In 2019, the New York State legislature enacted the Child Victims Act (“CVA”).  Before the CVA was passed, survivors of child sexual abuse had a very limited period of time (known as a statute of limitation) in which to bring a civil lawsuit against their abusers.  The CVA did two important things: (1) extended the statute of limitations for civil claims, allowing survivors to file a claim until they are 55 years old; and (2) opened up a one year “look-back” window that allowed victims whose sexual abuse claims were previously barred by the old statute of limitations, to file suit.  This one year “look back” which was supposed to expire on August 14, 2020 has been extended by Governor Andrew Cuomo from August 14, 2020 until January 14, 2021.  Our New York sexual abuse attorneys are eager to continue to fight on behalf of survivors of sexual abuse and help them secure compensation that will ensure they are protected for life.

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As investigations continue into past clergy sexual abuses, Propublica found that many of the priests that had been accused of abusing children were sent abroad by the Catholic Church and some continue to work with children.

Many abusers were sent to Mexico

In an article released Today, Propublica reveals that investigators were able to track 51 priests who had been accused of sexually abusing children and who were then kept on the church payroll but sent abroad in various countries such as Ireland, Nigeria, the Philippines and Mexico (21 of them were sent there).  One of them was Rev.Jose Antonio Pinal. Back in the 80ies Pinal was a young Mexican priest sent to the Parish of Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Gridley, a small city in rural California. Pinal developed a friendship with a family of Mexican immigrants and helped them with some administrative tasks such as filling an application for food stamps. Their son Ricardo who was 15 at the time was encouraged to become an altar boy. When Ricardo went to the Parish, Pinal gave him alcohol, showed him porn movies and raped him. After the rape was discovered, lawyers assured Ricardo’s family that Pinal would never been allowed around children again.

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helpA new searchable database including US Catholic Clergy members that have been credibly accused of sexual misconduct or assault on children is now available for anyone to search. The database created by ProPublica can be accessed here.

The catholic leaders said they would be transparent about their clergy members who were credibly accused of sexual abuse but they haven’t so far. While lists of abusers have been released many of them are still incomplete.

Investigators at ProPublica spent months collecting data from the various lists of predators released by the various dioceses of the Catholic Church to create the most extensive database of clergy members that have been  deemed credibly accused of child abuse in America. The list contains the name and detailed information of 6,754 clergy members who abused children in 178 different dioceses across the US covering a population of 64.7 million Catholics.

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location-of-the-sexual-abuseA detective working for the NYPD Special Victims Division and a special education school aid were both arrested on Friday after being accused of sexually assaulted young girls in New York City.

28 year old Kevin Lemon, a special education paraprofessional is accused of sexually abusing a 9 year-old girl three times in the basement and in the staircases of PS 59 in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. The girl who is not a special need students was abused during the month of June. She didn’t alert her family until she returned to the same school in September. When she saw Kevin Lemon again she told her grandmother what happened in June. The grandmother who is also her legal guardian reported the man to the police. He was arrested and charged with criminal sex act, sex abuse forcible touching, sexual misconduct and endangering the welfare of a child. The 28 year old man was studying to be a teacher at Brooklyn College and still needed 6 credits until graduation.  He was making $158 a day as a special education paraprofessional.  He was immediately suspended without a pay and will remain suspended until the investigation is over. He is due back to Court on Thursday. His bail was set at $50,000. (read more in the Post)

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helpA total 427 NY sexual abuse lawsuits were filed in courts last Wednesday, on the first day of the one year window during which victims of childhood sexual abuse in New York State have the possibility to sue their abuser independently of  when the abuse occurred. 169 cases were filed in New York City and another 258 cases outside of the city. 45 judges including 12 in New York City have been specifically designated to deal with this increase in cases.

Many of these lawsuits were directed against the Catholic Church including 35 of them against the catholic diocese of Rochester in Monroe County.   A first suit was filed against the ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick who was a prominent figure in the church, was  defrocked by the pope in February 2019 after an internal investigation revealed that he had sexually abused minors and adult seminarians.

Several suits were directed against the Boy Scouts of America. Claims were also filed against Rockefeller University Hospital where Dr. Reginal Archibald is accused of abusing hundreds of boys who were sent by their parents to his clinic because they were having medical issues related to growth.