If you suffered sex abuse from a pastor, priest, or any other type of religious figure in New York, you have a right to hold your abuser accountable. It is also critical to understand that recent changes to New York law have widened the types of lawsuits that can be initiated against churches. The following are some critical details about the basis required for filing New York church sex abuse lawsuits.
Changes to New York Sex Abuse Law
In 2019, Governor Cuomo signed the Child Victims Act into law, which resulted in the introduction of several critical regulations addressing civil and criminal actions for sex offenses committed against children in New York. Two of the new critical aspects of New York “Child Victims Act” include:
- Sex abuse victims in New York regardless of age have on year to initiate a civil case commencing August 14, 2019 and continuing until August 14, 2020. This window to pursue a sex abuse case applies to individuals who are previously barred from pursuing claims, those who have had their cases dismissed, and individuals who have not previously filed a civil lawsuit.
- Once this one year window of time has expired, any child sex abuse victims in New York who have not filed civil cases have until the age of 55 to initiate a lawsuit against the church or any other institution.
- Sex abuse victims are no longer required to follow notices of claim requirement for initiating a lawsuit against a public entity. While New York’s notice of claim requirements could result in the dismissal of claims against a government entity, the Child Victims Act removes this requirement.
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The Basis of New York Sex Abuse Cases
Victims can often initiate civil lawsuits against abusers for emotional and physical injuries. Victims can also sometimes file a lawsuit against third parties, including churches or other religious institutions that were responsible for hiring or supervising the abuser.
If the abuse occurred at a church or other religious building, it might also be possible to pursue a claim against the religious institute.
While sex abuse in these lawsuits might involve intercouse, sexual stimulation, fondling, and touching, abuse can also include other activities like squeezing a person’s body parts or revealing private body parts to a victim.
For the purposes of these lawsuits, it is also helpful to understand that New York state penal law defines sex abuse as forcing another individual to engaged in non-consensual or unwanted sexual contact. The absence of consent occurs in various situations, but some of the most common scenarios include power imbalance between victim and abuser, the abuser’s use of force, and the victim’s mental or physical disability.
A Sex Crimes Attorney Will Fight for the Results You Deserve
At the Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe LLP, we understand just how traumatic sexual abuse can be. That is why we focus on fighting to make sure that you have the greatest chance possible of obtaining compensation for your injuries. Contact our law office today to schedule a free confidential case evaluation.