New York State Sexual Abuse Statute of Limitations (2020)

Fighting For Important Causes In State And Federal Courts

Victims of sexual abuse in New York are coming forward more and more due to legislation passed in 2019. The Child Victim’s Act extended the deadline to file cases for sexual abuse, helping many people who were abused decades ago come forward and get the compensation and justice they deserve from abusers in the Catholic Church, the Boy Scouts of America, schools, sports programs, and other institutions that allowed these survivors to be abused. The Law Office of Andrew Shubin’s attorney for institutional sexual abuse victims explains how long you have to file claims of sexual abuse in New York under this new legislation.

Extended 2020 Deadline for Filing Sexual Abuse Claims in New York

On January 28, 2019, New York passed new legislation extending the statute of limitations for sexual abuse claims in the state. Before this legislation, victims had until they were 23 years-old to come forward and file their claim for abuse that took place when they were a child. Today, this deadline is extended so that victims have until they turn 55 to bring their case.

Perhaps the most important part of this new law is the one-year window for sexual assault victims in NY, where the statute of limitations is essentially suspended for all claims. While extending the statute of limitations will help new victims, people subjected to sexual abuse as children are still held to the statute of limitations that was on the books when their abuse took place. However, for one year, anyone can file a claim for sexual abuse by priests in New York, sexual abuse in the Boy Scouts, or other childhood sexual abuse, even if the statute of limitations would have normally blocked their case.

Originally, the act set the time frame that any victim of childhood sexual abuse could bring a claim against the individuals and institutions responsible for their abuse from August 14, 2019 through August 14, 2020, regardless of which statute of limitations applies.

However, due to the impact of COVID-19, Governor Andrew Cuomo extended the look back window a full year, until August 14, 2020. This opens the courts and a potential path to justice for perhaps thousands or tens of thousands of people who were abused as children but have been unable to come forward because the statute of limitations expired in their case.

The deadline to file criminal charges is also extended in many cases under this new legislation.

Extended Look Back Window for Child Sex Abuse Claims in New York

The extended look back window allows for any claims of child sexual abuse in NY until August 14, 2021, even if the victims would have had their case blocked by the statute of limitations. The old statute of limitations blocked any claims where the victim of child sexual abuse was older than 23. With the current one-year window, you can file your claim even if you are older than 23 to seek justice for abuse that happened when you were a minor.

Keep in mind that once this window expires, claims will be blocked again. The old statute of limitations blocks claims from anyone over the age of 23 who was abused when they were a child. After this extended look back window ends, the old statute of limitations will still govern cases that took place before the passage of the Child Victims Act in February.

The new statute of limitations allows victims of child sexual abuse until they are 55 to file their claims, but it does not apply retroactively. This means that if your abuse occurred before the Child Victims Act went into effect in 2019, you must file your claim before you turn 23 or else file the claim before August 14, 2021. If your abuse occurred after the law went into effect, you have until you turn 55 to file the claim.

Statute of Limitations for Sexual Assault in NY for Adults

The statutes of limitations create different deadlines for adult victims of sexual assault and sexual abuse. While the Child Victims Act is a great step forward for seeking justice for child victims, such as victims of sexual abuse by priests in New York City, adults still have a limited amount of time for sexual abuse committing against them.

To file your case in a criminal court, the statute of limitations allows 2 years for misdemeanors and 5 years for felonies. For civil claims against the abuser, the deadline to file is generally 3 years.

Compensation for Sexual Abuse in NY State

Victims of sexual abuse may suffer many effects of the abuse they faced as children. There could be significant injuries and medical expenses they need covered from when the assault happened, as well as costs of counseling and therapy over the years since the event. These damages should be paid by the parties responsible for causing the physical and mental harm that required treatment in the first place.

Many victims of sexual abuse develop severe mental health concerns such as PTSD or depression that may interfere with their ability to work. Damages for lost wages should also be paid as damages in a lawsuit.

The physical pain and mental and emotional distress of the event may be difficult to explain or prove in court, but independent damages for these harms can also be claimed in court.

Contact Our Institutional Sexual Abuse Attorneys for Help in a Free Confidential Consultation

If you or a loved one was abused as a child, call our attorney today to discuss filing a claim against your abuser. The sexual harassment lawyers at The Law Office of Andrew Shubin may be able to take your case and fight to get you compensation for your abuse. For a free legal consultation, call us today at (814) 826-3586. Do not wait to file your claim; the statute of limitations may bar your case if you file after the deadline. Talk to a lawyer today.



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