New Law Protects Victims of Sexual Abuse

For decades, there had been argument about sexual abuse occurring in religious institutions. Cases regarding sexual abuse by priests, rabbis or other religious leaders are often dismissed as not credible. Recently, several Roman Catholic Diocese in New York have released the names of priests accused of sexually abusing children. The release follows a new legislation, signed into law by Governor Cuomo on February 14, 2019. The act, known as the Child Victims Act, was voted into legislation almost unanimously and allows victims up to the age of 55 to file lawsuits against their abusers and entities responsible during a one-year period beginning August 14, 2019. Furthermore, the new law provides a one year “look-back window” in which victims of any age who already filed lawsuits that had passed the previous statute of limitations can file a new lawsuit during that same one-year period. This means that beginning August 14, 2019, for one year, a person may bring a claim against the entities responsible regardless of how old the victim is or how long ago the abuse occurred. This law also provides monetary compensation for any child sexual abuse claims arising from schools, teachers and business organizations of all kinds including boy scouts and other similar groups.

The list released by the Diocese reveals decades of accusations and is known as one of the largest disclosures of clergy abuse. Many of the alleged offenders on the list are well known due to their participation in schools, serving as teachers, principals, or as members of community organizations. The list itself was carefully curated such that approximately two-thirds of the accused priests are now deceased or have already resigned. Additionally, unlike other dioceses, the list did not include the work histories of the priests or outside clergymen that worked in the diocese. Furthermore, the list did not include the number of allegations against each priest or the dates of each priests' time at the institution. Despite the lack of information on the list, many victims see the list as an affirmation of their claims against the church and are glad that steps are being taken to prevent clergy abuse. 

Raskin and Kremins has represented and continues to represent victims of sexual abuse. If you or a loved one has been the victim of sexual abuse by a priest, rabbi or other religious leader, contact us so we can help get you the justice you deserve.


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