There is no pain greater than discovering your child was a victim of sexual abuse – especially when the perpetrator is an adult you trusted. Too often, adults in the clergy, or other adults in positions of authority, abuse their power and take advantage of children in their care. In many of these cases, survivors of these horrific acts of assault struggle with a lifetime of instability and distrust. Depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), substance abuse, and other issues are unfortunate side effects that young boys, girls, and/or teenagers struggle with after this kind of abuse.
For years, these victims were isolated and without help; the criminal justice and civil courts offered little to no recourse to seek justice and victims were forced to remain silent or deal with the stigma. A short, restricted statute of limitations ensured that pursuing justice and prosecuting the abusers was difficult and, too often, resulted in victims staying quiet from a mix of misdirected shame and legitimate fear.
Fortunately, the process is changing.
States in the U.S. are beginning to change the rules, working to give victims a voice and an opportunity to pursue the justice that was denied in the past, even years later. In New York, people abused as minors that are prepared to move forward have until mid August 2020 to find a lawyer and file a claim. New Jersey has followed suit in a similar manner, with the window for claims opening December 1, 2019. Other states are sure to follow.
If you or a loved one are a survivor of child sexual abuse, you have the right to be heard and deserve justice. Fill out the form at the right for a free consultation; your information will always remain confidential.
Child sexual abuse is not always defined as sexual assault. Other examples of child sex abuse may include:
- Sexual harassment, including verbal
- Unwanted touching, with or without clothes
- Provision of drugs, alcohol, or other behavior altering substances while encouraging sexual behavior
- Exposure to pornographic images or videos
- Lewd comments and gestures
- Sexual assault
- Statutory rape
- Threats to hide abuse
Additionally, despite the elevated news coverage of abuse in the Catholic Church, abuse can occur in a multitude of other places, including:
- Churches and other religious organizations
- Sports teams
- Community groups
- Service organizations, such as the Boy Scouts of America, which has recently been criticized for allegedly participating in coverups for years
New York’s Child Victims Act
The Child Victims Act (CVA) is a New York state law that went into effect in August 2019. While previous state laws prevented victims from taking legal acting after they turned 23, the law has been permanently extended for those who suffered from sexual abuse when they were under the age of 18. Through the new law, survivors now have until they turn 55 to file a suit.
However, all survivors – regardless of age or how long ago the abuse took place – have a one-year window, closing on August 14, 2020 to file a claim. This means those who were previously unable to take their abusers to court, including those who were previously hindered due to the statute of limitations, now have an opportunity to file a claim and fight for the justice they deserve.
Contact McHugh Fuller today for a free, confidential consultation using the form on this page or by calling (800) 939-5580.