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The Child Victims Act – Retribution for Damage Done

February 28th, 2020

By: Donald T. Kiley, Jr.

If you or someone you know was sexually abused in New York State when he or she was under the age of eighteen, a new law has extended the time for abused persons to seek justice.  Under the Child Victims Act, child sex abuse victims now can pursue criminal and civil remedies.

Under the NYS Criminal Procedure Law (CPL 30.10(3)f), the perpetrator can be prosecuted for  felony until the victim reaches the age of twenty-eight.  And if the acts occurred when the victim was younger than eleven years, there is usually no time limit for criminal charges.  See:  CPL 30.10(2)a.

The option to pursue civil penalties for money damages in civil cases for victims who were sexually abused as when they were younger than eighteen (18) has also been extended and expanded.  The old statute of limitations period was limited and started after the survivor turned eighteen (18). Now under the Civil Practice Laws and Rules (CPLR 214-g) victims can sue their abusers and/or the groups and organizations who supervised them until they reach the age of fifty-five (55) years.

Under the new law, private and public organizations such as schools, hospitals, churches, employers and other institutions can be held responsible for the actions of the men and women who worked and volunteered for them.  This is frequently the crux of the statute, as proving your case against an indigent offender will not provide relief.

The law further opened the legal forum for victims who were older than 55, as it provided that only until August 13, 2020, a child sex abuse victim can start a civil case no matter how old he or she was at the time the case was instituted.  This is true:

            – no matter how old the victim is;

            – no matter how long ago the abuse took place;

no matter that the case had previously been time-barred under the previous law;

no matter that the case against the abuser had been previously dismissed under the old    statute of limitations; and,

no matter (in cases against a municipality) that the victim had failed to file a Notice of    Claim under the Municipal law.

Cases brought under the new law are referenced as “revived CPLR 214-g” cases.  And special Rules apply. Recent decisions enable plaintiffs to pursue their legal remedies without their names being attached to the caption.  And when the case is ready for trial, it receives preferential treatment by moving ahead of other cases on the courts’ dockets.

The change in the law reflects the reality that survivors of child sexual abuse must overcome baseless shame and, unwittingly, forgive themselves for having been victimized.  So many are only able to come to terms with the trauma after many years.

If you, a relative or a friend was sexually victimized as a child, call Kiley, Kiley & Kiley.  We have already obtained legal satisfaction for victims of similar assaults and we are ready, willing and able to zealously fight for your rights.  

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