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How the Child Victims Act revealed New York’s dark history of child sexual abuse

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The Child Victims’ Act, which went into effect August 2019, opened up a year-long window for adult survivors of child sexual abuse to file claims against their perpetrators, regardless of when the crimes occurred. The law also changed the statute of limitations for civil sexual abuse claims, allowing any survivor to file suit until the age of 55 when the previous cut-off age was 23.

In a glimpse, the Pfau Cochran Vertetis Amala law firm said about 10 percent of the 479 cases they’ve brought under the law have been settled. They noted, however, that many of the defendants are waiting for the look-back window to expire so they know exactly how many claims they’re up against before they start negotiating.

While attorneys say it’ll likely take years to see a complete picture of the monetary results that came from suits brought during the look-back window, the survivors behind the dockets are relieved to just finally be heard after so many years of silent anguish.

Jason Amala, of Pfau Cochran Vertetis Amala, noted the case is on pause while the Boy Scouts hammer out their bankruptcy proceedings. But “fair compensation” for the abuse his clients endured is only one aspect of the healing process.

“For most people, what’s arguably more important for them is they want answers, they want to know ‘how did this happen?’” Amala said.

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