⚖️Adult Sex Abuse Survivors Win a Second Chance to Sue in New York!

⚖️Adult Sex Abuse Survivors Win a Second Chance to Sue in New York!
Photo by Sydney Sims / Unsplash

Were you or a loved one sexually abused as an adult in New York? 

The Adult Survivors Act Helps Those Who Didn’t Come Forward

Thanks to a new law, you can seek justice even if abuse or assault was long ago.

Sexual assault victims in New York got a long-deserved opportunity to sue over their sexual abuse under a new law expected to bring a wave of allegations against prison guards, middle managers, doctors, a few prominent figures, and even banks that facilitated Jeffrey Epstein's activities.  

“I feel like I’ve been in jail for almost three decades,” said Liz Stein, 49, who says she was abused by the millionaire and notorious sex offender Jeffrey Epstein when she was a young woman. “And it’s more than time for me and the other victims to be free of that prison that we’ve been in, and for the people who are accountable to be held accountable.”

Claims can be made against negligent institutions and even the estates of dead people. Some are expected from women who were inspired to come forward by the #MeToo movement, only to be told that too much time had passed to take legal action.

It’s unclear whether there will be as many lawsuits as were filed under the Child Victims Act. That law attracted many lawyers because of the possibility of verdicts against deep-pocketed institutions involved in caring for or education.

The Adult Survivors Act Helps Those Who Didn’t Come Forward

During the Adult Survivors Act revival window, adult victims of sexual violence with expired claims have a renewed chance to sue their abusers and any responsible organizations. This window will open six months from the date of the bill’s signing.

Survivors may file against their abusers. They may also sue the institutions that protected their abusers, such as churches, schools, and corporations.

Many survivors who were abused in New York may see justice under the Adult Survivors Act. Many studies show that most survivors were abused between ages 14 and 27, and the Adult Survivors Act is an important addendum to the CVA, which only applied to survivors abused before they turn 18.

The law’s enactment also reflects that abuse, unlike other crimes, is often not reported, and it usually takes time for adults and children to come to terms with their abuse.

It also takes time for survivors to feel safe taking legal action against an abuser. The law removes the protection provided to predators by New York’s statute of limitations for sexual offenses.

Countless survivors stand to benefit from the Adult Survivors Act. Adult victims of rideshare assault, food delivery assault, and church sexual abuse would also have a revived chance at justice and compensation.

The Adult Survivors Act follows the design of the Child Victims Act (CVA). Signed into law in February of 2019, the CVA opened a one-year “look back” window for survivors of childhood sexual abuse. The original window was extended in 2020 following COVID-19-related court closures. It closed on August 14, 2021.

The largest settlement to date was paid by the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. In 2007, the archdiocese paid $660 million to settle claims with 508 victims of clergy abuse. Each claimant received roughly $1.3 million.

Since the enactment of CVA, thousands of child sex abuse lawsuits have been filed. Survivors filed more than 9,000 church sex abuse lawsuits in that time. Many of these survivors have received compensation through settlements, while several New York dioceses also declared bankruptcy due to these lawsuits.

Were you or a loved one sexually abused as an adult?

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