What is the New York Child Victims Act?New York’s Child Victims Act was signed into law on February 14, 2019. The Child Victims Act extends what was a brief statute of limitations for survivors of childhood sexual abuse who want to sue their sexual abusers. A statute of limitations requires a lawsuit to be filed within a certain period. Today, that means there is far more time for a survivor of childhood sexual abuse to file a lawsuit for money damages. Claims under New York’s Child Victims Act can be pursued against the sexual abuser as well as his or her employer, such as a school, religious institution or foster care agency. The Child Victims Act is listed under CPLR 214-g.
Before New York’s Child Victims Act was signed into law, victims of childhood sexual abuse that occurred before he or she was 18 years old had only 5 years to bring a lawsuit after the sexual abuse victim reached 18 years old.
The Child Victims Act recognizes that a victim of childhood sexual abuse may not come to terms emotionally or otherwise for many years, if not decades, after turning 18 years old. Under the New York’s Child Victims Act, survivors of childhood abuse can now file a lawsuit up to the age of 55 against a person and a private or public institution that may have also been involved in the abuse through negligence. If you are unsure or want to know if you have a claim, speak to a New York sexual abuse lawyer as soon as possible.
The type of sexual abuse that a person can bring a claim is quite broad. A person can file a lawsuit under New York’s Child Victims Act under CPLR 214-g if he or she was less than 18 years old and the abuser committed one of two dozen crimes that are Sexual Offenses in Article 130 of New York State Penal Law or Incest and Use of a Child in a Sexual Performance.
Child Victims Act Eligible Acts
Some of the categories of charges that apply to Child Victims Act include:
- New York Forcible Touching Charges
- New York Sex Abuse Charges
- New York Rape Charges
- New York Criminal Sexual Act Charges
- Use of a Child in a Sexual Performance
The full list of the 24 crimes that apply to the Child Victims Act in New York are:
- Sexual Misconduct, Penal Law Section 130.20
- Rape in the Third Degree, Penal Law Section 130.25
- Rape in the Second Degree, Penal Law Section 130.30
- Rape in the First Degree, Penal Law Section 130.35
- Criminal Sexual Act in the Third Degree, Penal Law Section 130.40
- Criminal Sexual Act in the Second Degree, Penal Law Section 130.45
- Criminal Sexual Act in the First Degree, Penal Law Section 130.50
- Forcible Touching, Penal Law Section 130.52
- Persistent Sexual Abuse, Penal Law Section 130.52
- Sexual Abuse in the Third Degree, Penal Law Section 130.55
- Sexual Abuse in the Second Degree, Penal Law Section 130.60
- Sexual Abuse in the First Degree, Penal Law Section 130.65
- Aggravated Sexual Abuse in the Fourth Degree, Penal Law Section 130.65-a
- Aggravated Sexual Abuse in the Third Degree, Penal Law Section 130.66
- Aggravated Sexual Abuse in the Second Degree, Penal Law Section 130.67
- Aggravated Sexual Abuse in the First Degree, Penal Law Section 130.70
- Course of Conduct Against a Child in the First Degree, Penal Law Section 130.75
- Course of Conduct Against a Child in the Second Degree, Penal Law Section 130.80
- Female Genital Mutilation, Penal Law Section 130.85
- Facilitating a Sex Offense With a Controlled Substance, Penal Law Section 130.90
- Incest in the Third Degree, Penal Law Section 255.25
- Incest in the Second Degree, Penal Law Section 255.26
- Incest in the First Degree, Penal Law Section 255.27
- Use of a Child in a Sexual Performance, Penal Law Section 263.05
Child Victims Act Lawsuits in New York
As noted above, lawsuits filed under the CPLR 214-a, New York Child Victims Act, involve allegations of a crime that is defined as a Sexual Offense, as listed above, against a child who was less than 18 years old. Of course, a person who is an adult at the time that she or he was a victim of a sexual offense can also sue, but the time limits on such lawsuits are limited.
The full Child Victims Act is listed under New York’s CPLR 214-g states:
Notwithstanding any provision of law which imposes a period of limitation to the contrary and the provisions of any other law pertaining to the filing of a notice of claim or a notice of intention to file a claim as a condition precedent to commencement of an action or special proceeding, every civil claim or cause of action brought against any party alleging intentional or negligent acts or omissions by a person for physical, psychological, or other injury or condition suffered as a result of conduct which would constitute a sexual offense as defined in article 130 of the penal law committed against a child less than 18 years of age, incest as defined in section 255.27, 255.26 or 255.25 of the penal law committed against a child less than 18 years of age, or the use of a child in a sexual performance as defined in section 263.05 of the penal law, or a predecessor statute that prohibited such conduct at the time of the act, which conduct was committed against a child less than 18 years of age, which is barred as of the effective date of this section because the applicable period of limitation has expired, and/or the plaintiff previously failed to file a notice of claim or a notice of intention to file a claim, is hereby revived, and action thereon may be commenced not earlier than 6 months after, and not later than 2 years and 6 months after the effective date of this section. In any such claim or action: (a) in addition to any other defense and affirmative defense that may be available in accordance with law, rule or the common law, to the extent that the acts alleged in such action are of the type described in subdivision one of section 130.30 of the penal law or subdivision one of section 130.45 of the penal law, the affirmative defenses set forth, respectively, in the closing paragraph of such sections of the penal law shall apply; and (b) dismissal of a previous action, ordered before the effective date of this section, on grounds that such previous action was time barred, and/or for failure of a party to file a notice of claim or a notice of intention to file a claim, shall not be grounds for dismissal of a revival action pursuant to this section.
Intentional and Negligent Acts in Child Victims Act Claims in NYC
There are two types of acts or omissions that fall under the Child Victims Act: (1) intentional acts and (2) negligent acts. Intentional acts involve the desire or purpose to bring about particular consequences and extends not only the desired physical results of an act but also the consequences of the act that the actor i substantially certain will occur as a result of his or her actions. For example, if a person touches another person’s genitals, which is a common claim under the New York’s Child Victims Act, the act would be deemed intentional. A defendant may claim that the act of touching was accidental and not intentional. But several similar acts of touching would render a claim of an accident to be meritless.
Negligence, on the other hand, does not require an intentional, but rather constitutes a failure to behave with the level of care that an ordinarily careful person would have exercised under the same circumstances. Negligent conduct usually consists of actions, but when the person has a duty to act, negligence can also involve omissions or the failure to act.
Different groups of potential defendants may be sued under the Child Victims Act under the broad categories of intentional and negligent acts. Abusers, whether a member of the clergy, a teacher, family members, foster parent or any other person, may be sued for their intentional acts. The abusers took action with the desire or purpose to, for example, non-consensually touch or penetrate another person.
In addition, parties that had a duty to protect the abused person when the abuse occurred may be liable under the Child Victims Act due to their negligence. For example, if a child was abused while under the care of a school, church, or foster care agency, for example, that entity may be liable under the Child Victims Act if the abuse occurred because the entity was not as careful as an ordinary school, church, or foster care agency in carrying out its duty to protect a child. Unlike the abuser, the entity did not intend the abuse of the child, but the entity may nonetheless be liable if the abuse would not have occurred if the entity had exercised adequate care.
Damages in Child Victims Act Lawsuits in New York
Victims of childhood sexual abuse suffer from a wide variety of injuries, which are often long-lasting if not chronic and serious if not devastating. These injuries can include emotional and psychological conditions, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (“PTSD”), depression, and anxiety.
Many victims of childhood sexual abuse suffer from difficulty with physical intimacy and romantic relationships. For victims who have sought treatment for their struggles, treatment often requires many years to decades of therapy and perhaps medication, which can become very expensive. For some victims, the psychological and emotional injuries caused by the abuse has also affected their ability to succeed in school and professionally. These challenges can lead to a substantial loss of income over time.
The Child Victims Act allows plaintiffs to seek damages, or monetary compensation, for all of these injuries. Because we cannot turn back the hands of time to prevent the abuse from happening, the best version of justice that civil courts can deliver is money damages. Victims of childhood sexual abuse may be entitled to monetary compensation for their psychological pain, for the cost of consequential treatment, and for any resulting loss of income, for example.
The Child Victims Act also allows for punitive damages above and beyond the compensatory damages discussed above. Sexual abuse of a child is deeply harmful behavior. For this reason, the Child Victims Act allows a jury to punish an abuser by awarding a plaintiff additional monetary damages in the form of punitive damages. These damages will not typically be awarded against defendants who engaged in negligent conduct but may be appropriate where the negligence was truly extreme.
Hiring a New York Child Victims Act Lawyer
Hiring the right New York Child Victims Act lawyer is crucial in achieving the best possible outcome when a person has a claim for childhood sexual abuse anywhere in New York State.
The best New York Child Victims Act and sexual abuse lawyer is experienced, aggressive and knowledgeable. As a former prosecutor in Manhattan, I have the experience and knowledge from prosecuting cases of sexual abuse in New York.
Speak With a NYC Child Victims Act Lawyer Today
If you or a loved one is has a Child Victims Act claim or case in New York, we’re here to help. Contacting a Child Victims Act lawyer early in your case is important to preserve the claim of sex abuse. A knowledgeable and aggressive Child Victims Act and sexual abuse lawyer should take immediate steps to ensure the success of a lawsuit on behalf of a victim or survivor of child sex abuse.
Contact The Law Firm of Andrew M. Stengel
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