Child Victims Act

The New York Child Victims Act, a law drafted to hold abusers accountable for the sexual abuse and victimization of children and minors under 18, drastically changes the framework for criminal prosecutions and civil actions involving sex offenses against young people. By allowing the statute of limitations to begin running when a child turns 23 years of age in a criminal proceeding and the filing of civil action before a toddler, pre-teen or teenage victim turns 55 years old, your Child Victims Act lawyer can now best ensure adult predators no longer escape responsibility with impunity. Whether an adult raped you as a child, subjected you to unwilling sexual intercourse, forced you into anal or oral sexual conduct, or engaged in some other sexual offense, he or she is no longer immune from liability. Not only is the statute of limitations greatly expanded, but previously barred civil actions are revived no matter who sexually assaulted you – a teacher, member of clergy, camp counselor, coach or other adult. Further, the legislation eliminates notice of claim requirements for law suits against municipalities, the state of New York and school districts. While this law is not a sword to Extort or Blackmail for unjust enrichment, the value of this legislation in a prosecutor’s or your attorney’s arsenal to make you whole, compensate you for your suffering and to enforce justice cannot be overstated.

Understanding the Law and Its Benefits

An easy way to digest the statute and understand how the law can serve your needs is to break down its effects on and within the criminal justice and civil court systems.

Criminal

Codified in New York Penal Law 130, a Sex Crime felony, other than class “B” felonies, has a five-year statute of limitations that commences when a child turns 18. Now, a District Attorney can prosecute conduct that occurred five years after a complainant’s 23rd birthday. Similarly, the two-year misdemeanor period starts “ticking” on this later date as well.

Civil

Far more expansive in the civil context, before a man or woman maltreated as a child turns 55, he or she is no longer time barred from bringing an action stemming from decades old sex abuse. Moreover, where a claim was already time barred, an accuser can potentially have his or her proverbial “day in court” within a briefly provided one year “look back” period. Additionally, to make matters more efficient, a child victim’s counsel needs not file a notice of claim where certain public entities are the respondents, judges will receive new training for the proper handling of these lawsuits, and courts will be required to adhere to amended procedures in their review and management of these cases.

Simply, whether law enforcement pursues a criminal investigation leading to an arrest and indictment or private counsel pursues your remedies in the civil arena, the opportunity to right past wrongs is greater than ever before.

Crimes and Violations of the Penal Law: Criminal Records and Incarceration

New York Sex Crimes are generally codified in Penal Law 130. There you will find a wide range of both misdemeanor and felony offenses that an accused, who may later become a defendant, can face. These crimes range from the class “A” misdemeanors of Sexual Abuse in the Second Degree and Forcible Touching, to class “B” felonies including First Degree Rape and First Degree Criminal Sexual Act. Among these offenses are numerous violations of the law that until now were avoidable by a defendant but for the expanded statute of limitations. Armed with this legislation, a judge, upon conviction, can incarcerate your predator to as long as one, four, seven, fifteen and even twenty-five years.

Causes of Action and Lawsuits: Accountability and Making You Whole

No legislation can heal the wounds of the past. No judge nor jury can erase the trauma thrust upon you by a selfish and callous adult. However, whether or not your abuser sets foot in jail or is saddled with a criminal record, the court system can force him or her, as well as the institution that protected the violator, to pay for past sexual predation through lawsuits asserting tortious violations including past intentional or reckless infliction of emotional distress, assault and battery, negligence and even false imprisonment. As a means to compensate you for your pain and suffering, mental health treatment, psychological damages, familial damages, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more, the courts have the ability to ensure justice and prevent future wrongdoing with levying a financial burden on your abuser and notice to would be predators.

Providing Closure, Securing Justice and Protecting Children

You have courageously stood strong in the face of your past abuse. Maybe you remained silent. Maybe you shared the horrors of your past with friends, family, or therapists. No matter where you find yourself today, you are deserving of some degree closure or an assemblance of justice. The man or woman who took advantage of your youth and innocence then should no longer have the luxury of escaping accountability today or any more tomorrows.

While it may not be an easy step to take, with the right advocate and counsel you can force responsibility upon an unwilling recipient, protect children from harm, and allow yourself the ability to move forward in and take back your life. When you are ready to embrace your family, friends and future as you should, contact the criminal lawyers, Child Victims Act advocates, and former Manhattan prosecutors at Crotty Saland PC to start living the life you deserve.

Call us at 212.312.7129 or contact us online today.

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