Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York signed legislation extending the look back window for victims of sexual abuse in New York to file lawsuits under the state’s Child Victims Act.
The original window to file an expired or barred case was set to close August 14, 2020, but is now extended to August 14, 2021.
Since going into effect last year, the Child Victims Act has allowed more than 3,000 survivors to come forward to seek justice against their perpetrators, regardless of when the alleged abuse occurred. Many of these survivors are victims of Boy Scout abuse.
While Boy Scout sexual abuse victims are encouraged to file a claim by November 16, 2020 in the United States Bankruptcy Court against Boy Scouts of America, some states—like New York—have extended their statute of limitations to allow victims to file in the state’s court system separately. The extension permits victims to file claims against the Boy Scout local councils and their sponsoring organizations, such as Roman Catholic and Mormon churches.
This month, Hurley McKenna & Mertz (HMM) filed nearly 60 Child Victims Act lawsuits on behalf of their clients in the New York state court system. One suit was filed against the Allegheny Highlands Council and its former Scoutmaster, Donald C. Shriver, in New York State Supreme Court in Chautauqua County. HMM’s lawsuit claims Shriver sexually abused their client on multiple occasions.
The firm plans to file 30 more cases by the end of this month.
Governor Cuomo’s extension of New York’s window gives victims and their attorneys breathing room to deal with the technical demands of the New York Court System during unprecedented times.
When he signed the extension, Governor Cuomo stated “The Child Victims Act brought a long-needed pathway to justice for people who were abused, and helps right wrongs that went unacknowledged and unpunished for far too long and we cannot let this pandemic limit the ability for survivors to have their day in court.”
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