Following Law Change, New York Sees 'Tidal Wave' of Child Sex Abuse Lawsuits

On Aug. 14, the Child Victims Act takes effect, giving people one year to sue over allegations of sexual abuse, regardless of when they said it occurred.
August 5, 2019 AT 8:30 AM

By Tom Hals

Thousands of child sexual abuse lawsuits are expected to flow into New York State courts in the coming weeks exposing decades-old misconduct at schools, hospitals, churches and youth clubs, according to lawyers for victims.

On Aug. 14, the Child Victims Act takes effect, giving people one year to sue over allegations of sexual abuse, regardless of when they said it occurred.

Under the law signed by Governor Andrew Cuomo in February, New York has gone from one of the toughest states to bring a case because of its strict statute of limitations to one of the easiest, potentially unleashing decades of unresolved claims.

“It’s going to be a tidal wave of litigation,” said lawyer Mitchell Garabedian, best known for representing victims of child abuse by Roman Catholic priests in the Archdiocese of Boston.

Cases will cut across society, illustrating the systemic nature of the abuse, victims’ lawyers said, although they expect many of the lawsuits to be against Catholic organizations and the Boy Scouts of America.

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