Clergy Sexual Abuse

There are no words to describe the physical and mental torment sexual abuse survivors must endure following a crime against them. This is especially true for innocent children who are unable to defend themselves or even communicate the abuse they are suffering from.
The New York sexual abuse attorneys at AEE are wholly dedicated to protecting the rights of sexual abuse victims and bringing those who have committed these atrocious acts to justice.

It is worth noting that child sexual abuse is not restricted to physical contact. Children may suffer from sexual victimization if they have dealt with noncontact abuse such as exposure, voyeurism, and child pornography.

Tragically, the true prevalence of childhood sexual abuse is difficult to determine because it is often not reported. Experts generally agree, however, that the rate of incidence is far greater than what is reported to authorities.

At AEE we believe it is our duty to protect those who cannot protect themselves. If you or a loved one has suffered from any form of sexual abuse, do not hesitate to contact the New York sexual abuse lawyers at AEE today at 212-221-5999. Our compassionate, caring, and experienced attorneys will work diligently to uncover whether criminal charges, a civil lawsuit – or both – can be filed against the perpetrator or negligent third party who is responsible for the abuse and its damages to you.

AEE, LLP is there for you during this difficult time.

About New York’s Child Victims Act

The New York State Legislature passed the Child Victims Act in late January 2019.

This bill eliminates the statute of limitation for prosecuting child sexual abuse crimes and filing civil lawsuits for damages against individuals, public institutions, and private institutions related to child sexual abuse.

Under the new law:

  • Survivors who suffered sexual abuse as children will be able to file civil lawsuits against abusers and institutions until they are 55 years old. The previous limit of age stood at 23 years old.
  • There is a one-year “lookback window” during which sexual abuse survivors of any age or time limit can come forward to seek out legal prosecution against the perpetrator.
  • Victims whose cases were previously dismissed for a statute of limitations reasons can bring a new lawsuit.
  • Victims whose cases were previously dismissed for failing to file a notice of claim or notice of intention to file a claim against a municipality can bring a new lawsuit.
  • Individuals who were abused at public institutions will now be able to file lawsuits against the organization without having to submit a notice of claim or notice of intention to file a claim.
  • Survivors who suffered sexual abuse as children will be able to file felony criminal charges against the offender until they turn 28.
  • Victims can seek misdemeanor charges against the offending party until their 25th birthday.
  • Law enforcement will now have more time to file charges against abusers.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a statement, “I’m proud to say the time is now to pass this critical legislation to end this heinous injustice once and for all and [to] give these victims their day in court.”

This change of statutes of limitations for Child Sexual Abuse can prove to be the catalyst for bringing many offenders to justice. As per Child USA, the average age of a victim’s disclosure is 52, with the median age being 48. This disclosure delay often results in survivors missing a statute of limitation deadlines for filing their claims.

Now, survivors who have kept quiet for decades will be able to come forth with their stories and obtain the justice and recovery they deserve.

Let the New York sexual abuse attorneys at Antin, Ehrlich & Epstein, LLP shoulder the weight of your incident while you focus on healing. Contact our team today at (212) 221-5999 for your free and confidential case review.”

Common Examples of Sexual Abuse and Assault

Sadly, minors are often taken advantage of by those they trust and who have some level of power over them.

Perpetrators of abuse often include but are not limited to:

  • Relative(s)
  • Teacher(s)
  • Coach(es)
  • Friend(s)
  • Neighbor(s)
  • Religious figurehead (i.e. priest/pastor)
  • Foster parent(s)
  • Law enforcement officer(s)
  • Medical professional(s)

As previously mentioned, what constitutes sexual abuse depends on a number of factors, but generally falls under two broad categories:

  • Unwanted Sexual Contact – These are situations in which the victim did not consent to the sexual act. The abuse does not have to involve penetration; exposure, voyeurism, and child pornography can suffice as a form of unwanted sexual abuse.
  • Under the Age of Consent – In these situations, the victim may have consented but he/she is under the legal age of consent or was preyed upon by an adult in a trusted relationship (i.e. doctor, priest, employer, etc.).

While rape is the most commonly recognized form of sexual assault, there are other kinds that are recognized as well, including but limited to:

  • Forced sexual acts
  • Groping or unwanted touching
  • Sexual exploitation
  • Facilitating offense with a controlled substance

In the state of New York, the general age of consent is 17, as long as the individual is mentally competent to consent to a sexual relationship.

Any individual who engages in a sexual act with another individual under the age of consent is subject to criminal and civil charges, even if the sexual act was consensual.

In most cases, the younger the victim of sexual abuse, the more serious the charges against the offender.

Victims who are considering filing a claim under the newly authorized Child Victims Act should note that even if their victimizer was acquitted in a criminal court, they still have the ability to file a civil lawsuit. The standard of evidence in a civil lawsuit, which is known as the “preponderance of the evidence,” is often much easier to prove, and thus, the survivor has an increased likelihood of obtaining some form of recovery for their pain and suffering.”

Who Can Be Held Responsible

Alongside the perpetrators who committed the actual crime, there are third parties that can be held liable for their failure to protect the victim or for their negligent behavior. These third parties can include but are not limited to:

  • Institutions, organizations, and/or employers who are responsible for the actions of their employees including:
  • Religious Institutions (i.e. Catholic church, Mormon church, etc.)
  • Youth Organizations (i.e. Boy Scouts, YMCA, Big Brothers Big Sisters, etc.)
  • Schools and/or Academies