Victims 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.