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New York opens door to old abuse claims: “I never thought that this moment would come”

A groundbreaking new law took effect overnight in New York. The Child Victims Act gives sexual abuse survivors, barred by a statute of limitations, a one-year window to file a civil lawsuit against their alleged perpetrators, and institutions like the boy scouts, schools and the Catholic Church.

“This is about accountability and responsibility,” Freeman said. “Holding those institutions responsible for what they allowed or did to children.”

The Child Victims Act opens a one-year “look-back window” in New York during which any person who was under the age of 18 when they were sexually abused can file a civil lawsuit regardless of their age now. Victims previously only had until age 21 to sue an institution and age 23 to sue a perpetrator.

“This isn’t just about money. This is about justice and this is the way America does justice,” Marci Hamilton, founder of the child abuse advocacy group, CHILD USA, said.

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