Times-Telegram from Rochester Democrat and Chronicle
August 3, 2020
By Sean Lahman
Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a bill Monday that will extend the deadline for lawsuits filed under New York’s Child Victims Act.
That legislation, adopted in early 2019, carved out a one-year window during which suits can be brought by people who allege they were sexually abused when they were young. The window of opportunity was set to close on August 13, 2020.
In May, both chambers of the state Legislature passed a bill to extend the deadline by a full year, to August 2021, saying they would do so because other states had given victims more than a year to bring suit. The state court system had also been closed by the pandemic, meaning that for several months, new CVA cases couldn’t be filed.
The legislation signed today extends the special filing period by a full year and claims can now be filed under the statute until August 14, 2021.
“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,” Cuomo said in a statement Monday. “As New York continues to reopen and recover from a public health crisis, extending the lookback window is the right thing to do and will help ensure that abusers and those who enabled them are held accountable.”
Cuomo had signed an executive order to extend the deadline, but critics expressed doubts that such a move would survive legal scrutiny and there was widespread concern that as a result, survivors who wait may not get their day in court.
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