According to a news report on NYTimes.com, the New York State Legislature has passed a new bill permitting adult victims one more year to bring their sex abuse lawsuits. On May 24, 2022, New York Governor Kathy Hochul approved the bill and signed it into law. The bill grants sexual abuse victims in New York the right to file civil sex abuse lawsuits in New York, even if the statutes of limitations in their cases have already expired.
The New York State Assembly easily passed the Adult Survivors Act earlier this month. The Adult Survivors Act specifically grants adult sex abuse victims, who were 18 or older at the time of the abuse, a final opportunity to file civil lawsuits against their attacker in New York, even if the statute of limitations in their case has passed. The bill is similar to New York’s Child Victims Act, which also grants adult survivors a one-year window to file their sex abuse civil lawsuit.
The Adult Survivors Act is deemed “restorative justice” because it allows victims to seek both compensation and accountability from abusers and also acts as a deterrence to institutions that might “turn a blind eye” to sexual abuse in the future. The Adult Survivors Act moved through the New York State Senate in 2021, but stalled in the State Assembly. However, proponents of the bill called and wrote lawmakers and held news conferences in Albany to boost support for the bill. The bill unanimously passed in the New York State Senate in April and passed the State Assembly by a vote of 140 to 3.
In 2019, the Child Victims Act established the same “look-back window” for victims who were sexually abused while they were under the age of 18. According to the Office of Court Administration, more than 10,000 sex abuse victims were able to file their civil lawsuits in the hope of receiving legal justice agist their abusers.
Large corporations and organizations have fought these victims’ rights bills for more than thirteen years because they feared the substantial legal exposure. In many cases, organizations like the Boy Scouts of America sought bankruptcy protection because of the financial burden of the sex abuse lawsuits.
Supporters of the Adult Survivors Act believe all negotiations conducted to pass the Child Victims Act in 2019 helped the Adult Survivors Act pass in 2022. The Adult Survivors Act does not help victims win their lawsuits, but at least now, they can present their case. Proponents of the bill gave a news conference thanking the Legislators for passing the bill while also warning sexual predators and abusers that they should be afraid of this bill’s passage.
If you or a loved one have been sexually abused in New York, you or your loved one could be entitled to receive substantial monetary compensation from the individual or institution responsible for the sexual abuse.
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