NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — Thousands of victims of child sex abuse in New York will have the chance to seek civil justice against their alleged abusers beginning Wednesday, when the state’s Child Victims Act takes effect.
New York will open a unique one-year period during which victims can file claims against their abusers and the institutions that protected them, regardless of how long ago the abuse occurred.
Among those bracing for lawsuits include the Catholic Church and the Boy Scouts of America, who have already faced numerous cases of sexual abuse in the past year.
Those who will be filing suits including New York State Assemblywoman Rodneyse Bichotte, who claims the have been abused by a priest as a child.
“I am a survivor who was sexually abused at the age of 10 by a pastor, now there is path for retribution,” she told reporters.
The Child Victims Act also extend the state's statute of limitations for criminal child sexual abuse cases. Victims, who previously had until the age of 25, now have until the age of 28 to seek a felony indictment. The statute of limitations for civil cases is until the victim turns 55, up from the previous age of just 23.
“The message to abusers is loud and clear there is no place for you to hide in the state of New York any longer,” said State Sen. Alessandra Biaggi.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the legislation into law in February while praising the abuse survivors who had already come forward to make change for others.