“New Yorkers Against Hidden Predators”, a coalition of citizens including the likes of actor Corey Feldman and Team USA volleyball player Sarah Powers-Barnhard, is gaining support in it’s fight to pass the Child Victims Act (S.809) this legislative session. Feldman hopes his endorsement will give the bill more attention.
The bill is additionally supported by Jeff Herman, a nationally recognized trial lawyer best known for winning a landmark 2011 verdict on behalf of a client who was sexually abused by a Roman Catholic priest of the Archdiocese of Miami, and has since become known as the go-to lawyer in sexual abuse cases.
Currently, sexual abuses crimes can be legally brought to court within five years of the crime. Additionally, the nature of the incident affects the civil lawsuit, meaning a person would have one years to sue an individual unless they belong to an institution, which extends the statue of limitations to three years.
A five year window applies to criminal cases, beginning the countdown once a person turns 18. This means a plaintiff would have until age 23 to take legal action.
The bill aims to extend the statue of limitations to age 50 in civil cases and 28 in criminal cases, as well as create a one-year window in which anyone would be permitted to bring forth a lawsuit, regardless of the status of the statue of limitations. In other states where similar laws have been enacted, it has encouraged more victims to come forward.
The Assembly a similar version of the Child Victim’s Act several times in the past, including one written by Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal, and Governor Cuomo has included the bill in his legislative priorities this year. Thus far, according to a 2018 Quinnipiac Poll shared by Senate Democrats, 90.6% of New Yorkers support the bill.