3,797 and counting: Child Victims Act suits in NY add up, with more expected

Poughkeepsie Journal

The civil action lawsuit is one of thousands filed under the Child Victims Act against individuals, schools, churches and youth organizations. Last August, the law allowed survivors of child sexual abuse one year to file claims against those responsible for abuse regardless of how long ago the incident took place.

Nearly a year later, there were 3,797 suits as of late last week filed according to the New York Office of Court Administration, with 109 filed in Westchester, six in Dutchess and four in Rockland. New York County had the highest number of claims with 851.

Some of these suits have multiple plaintiffs, such as a suit that was recently filed against Rockefeller University over sexual abuse perpetrated by Dr. Reginald Archibald. The lawsuit had 80 accusers listed. 

Last Monday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo extended the CVA window for another year giving accusers until August 2021 to file a suit.

"We had been getting calls from New York residents for decades and we'd tell them we can't help you," said Michael Pfau, a Seattle-based attorney. "When CVA passed, the numbers were just startling, and we're just one firm."

"In Robert's case, it's a story we've heard over and over and over again," said Jason Amala as to why they took him on as a client. Stillman's attorney is with the law firm Pfau Cochran Vertetis Amala.

Amala's law firm and Marsh Law have taken on close to 1,000 clients who have filed or are considering filing CVA suits. However, law firms such as theirs have had to turn hundreds of clients way because of the limited time and also if the case wasn't "a fit" for their law firm.

By enacting the CVA and opening up the statute of limitations for a year, that allows people to file their lawsuits, but the lawsuit still has to be viable," Pfau said, adding that cases that are decades years old are sometimes challenging to prove. His firm may not take on clients that have molested others or have a history of violent crimes. 

Find more information online here.

Filed Under  Archibald Scandal  Catholic Church  Child Victims Act (CVA)  Childhood Sexual Abuse  News 

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