Girl Scouts sex-abuse claim included in NY civil case flurry

Associated Press

August 5, 2020

By Tom Hayes

As a Girl Scout growing up in upstate New York, Alice Weiss-Russell says she lived with a dark secret: The husband of her troop leader was sexually abusing her in the bathroom of a church basement where scout meetings were held in the 1980s.

Weiss-Russell has detailed her alleged ordeal in a new lawsuit filed against Girl Scouts of the USA, part of a flurry of child sex-abuse cases in New York using a “look back window” for making civil claims against abusers.

“For me, it gives me a chance to be heard because I didn’t have that chance when I was young and hold the Girl Scouts accountable for what happened to me,” Weiss-Russell told The Associated Press in a phone interview on Tuesday. The AP does not typically identify people who say they are victims of sex crimes unless they grant permission.

Another lawsuit, also filed Wednesday, accuses a Manhattan research center of similarly looking the other way as a prominent physician abused dozens of children he was studying and treating for being small for their age.

The two lawsuits come after Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo signed a bill earlier this week granting a one-year extension to the state’s Child Victims Act. The law temporarily lifts the usual time limits on filing lawsuits for anyone suing over childhood sexual abuse.

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