NY & NJ Child Victims Act Lawsuits
In recent months and years, thousands of victims of childhood sexual abuse at the hands of clergy members, boarding school staff, and other adults in positions of power have come forward, sharing their stories to seek justice, and to help others.
At Joseph & Norinsberg LLC, our experienced, compassionate sexual abuse lawyers have been helping victims of sexual abuse and assault obtain the compensation and justice they deserve for decades. We understand the highly-emotional nature of these cases, and how simply deciding to file a claim can open old wounds. We will remain by your side throughout the entire process, advocating for your best interests every step of the way. Contact a NY/NJ sexual abuse lawyer today for a free and confidential consultation about your case.
High-Profile Sex Abuse Cases
The sex abuse scandal rocking the Catholic Church made headlines again earlier this month when The Diocese of Rockville Centre, a Roman Catholic Church in the suburbs of NYC, became the nation’s largest to declare bankruptcy. The Diocese racked up an estimated $500 million in lawsuit liabilities following the implementation of NY’s Child Victims Act.
But cases involving the Catholic Church aren’t the only ones making headlines. Recent lawsuits filed by Jon Norinsberg against celebrity Judge Andrew Napolitano allege that he sexually assaulted two different men. One of the suits was filed by a man claiming Napolitano forced him to perform oral sex in exchange for lighter sentencing in a 1980s arson case, and the other more recent allegation involved a New Jersey waiter in 2015.
The Fox News analyst vehemently denies the claims. “These accusations are completely false. Full stop. I have never done anything like what the accuser describes, at any time, to anyone, for any reason,” said Napolitano in a statement.
The NY and NJ Victims Acts
In response to the massive wave of victims seeking justice in recent years, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo passed the Child Victims Act in 2019, allowing victims of childhood sexual abuse to sue their abuser, regardless of how much time had passed since the alleged abuse had occurred. Prior to this new legislation, an individual’s right to sue evaporated after age 23. Since the Act was passed last year, it has allowed thousands of sex abuse survivors in New York to get the justice they deserve.
New Jersey passed similar legislation in December 2019, providing a two-year window of time during which victims of sex abuse can file lawsuits against their abuser, even if the alleged abuse occurred decades ago. New Jersey’s previous law prevented victims of childhood sexual abuse from suing after the age of 20.
Who Can Seek Justice Under the NY & NJ Child Victims Act?
The NY Child Victims Act:
- Allows victims of child sexual abuse to file a lawsuit against their abuser up until the age of 55 years;
- Increases the statute of limitation on sex abuse crimes;
- Opens a two-year window for victims who were previously ineligible to file a lawsuit due to the passing of too much time.
The NJ Child Victims Act:
New Jersey’s Act is similar, but distinctive in that it also applies to survivor’s of sexual abuse who were adults at the time of the incident(s). NJ’s window of opportunity is slated to close December 2021, unless an additional extension is approved before that time.
Extension of the NY Child Victims Acts Due To COVID-19
Back in May, Gov. Cuomo signed an executive order extending the window within which to file older claims of sexual abuse from August 14, 2020 until January 14, 2021. This extension was in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on the judicial system. With the pandemic still in full swing and legal backlogs not expected to go away any time soon, Gov. Cuomo just extended the filing window a second time, until August 14, 2021, a full year from the original closing date.
“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,” said Gov. Cuomo. “As New York continues to reopen and recover from a public health crisis, extending the look back window is the right thing to do and will help ensure that abusers and those who enabled them are held accountable.”
New Jersey, on the other hand, hasn’t yet adopted such an extension. But its original closing date isn’t until December 2021.
Even with the extension of New York’s Act, and the December 2021 window for New Jersey’s, it is in your best interest to consult with an injury lawyer experienced in sex abuse cases as soon as possible. The extension wasn’t made arbitrarily; serious backlogs in the judicial system are complicating filings and making everything take significantly longer. And as these dates approach, new claims are expected to increase and create further delays. Do not risk missing your window of opportunity by waiting another day.
Contact Joseph & Norinsberg LLC Today
If you are a victim of sexual abuse, do not forfeit your ability to obtain compensation for your suffering. Although money cannot undo the damage caused by adults who prey on the vulnerability of young children, it may provide you with a sense of justice, and the time and space to heal from these wounds. Do not go through this difficult and emotional process alone; the skilled and compassionate attorneys at Joseph & Norinsberg LLC can help. The window of time to file closes in 2021. Contact us today through our website for a free and confidential consultation about your case.
Local Victim Support Groups