New York Priest Sexual Assault Attorney
In the past few years, the country has become aware of a shameful and horrendous fact: For decades, priests were engaging in sexually abusive conduct towards children in their care and control. The behavior was swept under the rug for years by Church officials, and many priests were simply moved from one location to another rather than formally disciplined or excommunicated. In New York, the cover-up went as high as the Archdiocese, which had been informed of allegations of abuse going back at least to the 1970s. This conduct is, to put it mildly, unacceptable. Victims have the right and the power to fight back and shed light on these atrocities.
Sexual abuse by clergy still continues, and it remains a poorly-kept secret by many denominations. The New York sexual abuse injury attorneys at Rusk, Wadlin, Heppner & Martuscello, LLP are ready to help you seek justice on behalf of yourself or a loved one. If you or someone else has been the victim of sexual abuse by a priest or other member of the clergy recently or at any time as a child, we will fight for your right to be heard and for the damages that you deserve for the terrible harm you have suffered.
Holding Churches and Priests Accountable for Sexual Abuse in New York
If you were subjected to unwanted touching, molestation, or some other form of sexual abuse by a priest, clergyman, or employee of a local church or religious school in New York, you have the right to hold the priest and their institution accountable. Sexual abuse as a child or sexual assault as an adult can cause real harm to victims, including emotional trauma and lasting psychological issues such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Many victims have already recovered millions of dollars against abusers, and many more are coming forward every day. Do not let this conduct go unpunished.
Claims can be brought against the individual priests as well as the institutions they represent. In New York, many cases have demonstrated that higher-ups at the Catholic Church, for example, were aware of the abuse that was occurring for decades. If the Church was aware of the abuse and did nothing to stop it, they are liable for the conduct of their priests.
The New York Child Victims Act
Most legal claims are subject to a statute of limitations. The limitations period is the time within which a civil complaint must be filed after an injury. For example, most personal injury lawsuits in New York must be filed within three years of the accident. Allegations of sexual abuse, however, especially child abuse, are often not raised until many years after the incident occurred. There are a variety of reasons why a victim of child abuse is unwilling or unable to bring a legal claim until after a typical limitations period would have expired. Because of this, and in light of a wave of child abuse allegations going back decades, New York enacted the Child Victims Act in 2019.
The Child Victims Act extends the statute of limitations for child sexual abuse claims, both civil and criminal. Under the Act, victims of sexual abuse as a minor can bring claims for physical, mental, emotional, or other forms of injury against individuals, private companies, private institutions, or even government agencies until they reach age 55. Moreover, victims who are already over 55 have one year to bring a claim from the date the Child Victims Act took effect. For that reason, it is crucial to act as soon as possible if you or a loved one has been the victim of sexual abuse by clergy.
The Act also allows criminal prosecutors to bring charges against alleged abusers until the victim reaches age 25 (for misdemeanor offenses) or age 28 (for felony offenses), regardless of how far back the abuse occurred.
Get Help from a Zealous and Effective New York Sexual Abuse Attorney
If you or someone you love has been the victim of sexual abuse by a member of the clergy, it is time to hold that person and any institution that protected them to task. Do not let these unscrupulous abusers get away with such unforgivable conduct. If you suffered from priest sexual assault in New York, call the compassionate and dedicated New York priest sexual abuse lawyers at Rusk, Wadlin, Heppner & Martuscello, LLP, for a free consultation, in Marlboro at 845-236-4411 or Kingston at 845-331-4100. Let us fight for the justice and the compensation you deserve for the wrongs you have suffered.