The Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn named more than 100 priests who have been credibly accused of allegedly sexually abusing a child. The diocese is one of the largest in the nation and the reveal is the one of the largest disclosures yet amongst a torrent of lists recently published by the church. The disclosure covers decades of allegations involving priests who had served in the diocese’s many neighborhood parishes and schools. Church officials are using these disclosures to acknowledge failures and mend ties with Catholics whose relationship with the church has been tested over its handling of the alleged sexual abuse.
Child abuse victims must act and fight for justice. New York has given this opportunity to its citizens. The state passed the Child Victims Act to help victims of childhood sexual abuse who were once too old to seek just compensation the ability to do so.
The Child Victims Act
The New York Child Victims Act allows survivors of child sexual abuse until the age of 55 to file a civil lawsuit against their attackers and the institutions that protected them. Criminal felony charges can be sought until the victim turns 28 and misdemeanors can be filed until the victim is 25 years old.
The new law also allows victims a one-time “look back” window of opportunity to file civil claims where the statute of limitations has already passed. In other words, you can file a civil lawsuit regardless of how long ago you were sexually abused. However, there is a one-time-only period which begins six months from the date the law was signed by the governor (February 14, 2019) to allow all victims to seek civil action, regardless of how long ago the abuse took place.
Child Victims Act v. Independent Mediation Assistant Program
The Child Victims Act opens a new window for child sexual abuse victims over the existing Independent Mediation Assistant Program (IMAP) offered by the church. The IMAP was established in 2004 to assist the victims of sexual abuse by priests. The Program was not as successful as church officials hoped it would be. Some abused victims even described it as making them feel like the abuse was their fault. Furthermore, IMAP does not operate independently of the diocese.
With the passing of the Child Victims Act, New York victims of child sexual abuse can now seek justice and compensation by filing a civil lawsuit directly against their abuser and the institutions that harbored them, such as the Catholic Church.
Call Us for More Information!
If you or a loved one is the victim of child sexual abuse, you need to know how the Child Victims Act can help you get the justice you deserve. For more information or to better understand how this law can help you, please call our professional help center at 212-385-4410.