For many people in New York who were sexually abused as children, August 14, 2019 was a landmark day. As of 12:01 a.m., they were finally allowed to seek the justice for which they had waited perhaps decades. With the Child Victim Act going into effect, hundreds of lawsuits were filed in just the first few hours, with thousands more expected to be filed in the months ahead. If you have been waiting to get your day in court to face your abuser, schedule a consultation with a child sex abuse attorney as soon as possible.
A Legal Free-For-All
According to legal experts, with so many victims now able to come forward, this is shaping up to be a legal free-for-all. With victims now having a one-year window for filing civil claims against their alleged abusers, it is expected some victims may come forward who are alleging abuse from as far back as 50-60 years ago. Since the majority of child sexual abuse victims don’t come to terms with their abuse for many years, this new legal option now allows those who have lived with shame and guilt to come forward and have the legal means to hold their abusers accountable.
Who is Being Targeted?
Since the Child Victim Act can apply to many situations involving child sexual abuse, a variety of people and organizations are being targeted with lawsuits. One of these lawsuits was against Rockefeller University (“Rockefeller”).
Some of other well known organizations include:
–Catholic Diocese of Rochester
–Boy Scouts of America
In addition to these organizations, many abuse victims are also filing lawsuits against individuals. For example, victims have filed claims against family members, individual counselors or teachers, and many others. Since these lawsuits are of course very complex, always speak to an experienced child sex abuse attorney before making a final decision.
With the recent case involving alleged child sex abuser Jeffrey Epstein in the headlines, there has also been a focus on filing criminal charges in these matters. Thanks to the passage of this new law, victims will now have an additional five years added to the window of time for criminal charges to be filed against an alleged abuser. This, along with any future victims having until age 55 to file civil suits against abusers, opens up many new legal options in the years ahead.
As a way to manage the deluge of lawsuits against them, it is speculated many organizations may choose to file bankruptcy. In fact, it has been reported the Boy Scouts of America and some Catholic dioceses may choose this option. However, even if they do, this in no way should stop victims from coming forward and taking legal action.
With the many options now available to child sexual abuse victims thanks to the Child Victim Act, it is now time for those who committed these egregious acts be brought to justice. If you are considering filing a lawsuit, don’t hesitate to contact an experienced and knowledgeable child sex abuse attorney right away.