Several states will enact changes to the laws regarding civil suits for survivors of childhood sexual abuse this year including New York, where the recently implemented Child Victims Act has already led to hundreds of new lawsuits alone specifically against the institution most prevalently associated with acts of sexual misconduct against children, the Roman Catholic Church.
The District of Columbia for example opened a two-year window this May that allows claims to be brought against perpetrators of child sex abuse and private institutions that may have allowed or covered-up the abuse that had previously expired under the current statute of limitations.
Similarly, in Arizona, a 19-month revival window for expired claims has been opened for survivors to seek civil damages. The Child Victims Act in both New York and New Jersey respectively, allow for a one and two-year revival window, with the law in New Jersey set to take effect in December 2019. In both these states civil damages may be sought from public institutions of government as well.
Reshaping their laws to be more closely in alignment with the needs of survivors of child abuse more than any other state is Vermont, which has revived all expired claims against perpetrators, private institutions and government. In Rhode Island, a survivor of childhood sexual abuse now has the right to seek damages from the perpetrator of the crime against them up until the age of 53, which is no arbitrary number as the average age in which a survivor discloses that they have been a victim of abuse is 52, according to scholarship provided by the nonprofit think tank, CHILD USA.
Catholic Church and Boy Scouts Lobby State Governments to Prevent Future Lawsuits by Victims
Conversely, there was no revival window for expired claims in Rhode Island, thanks to the private lobbying efforts of state lawmakers, the church may have been spared from having to defend itself from up to 200 new civil lawsuits in the state. Taking a page from the playbook established by the numerous Archdioceses mired in allegations of pedophilia over the years, as well as insurance companies and institutions such as the Boy Scouts of America, of leaning on those within local and state government with ties to the church for support.
Within the state of Michigan, home to the most notorious sexual predator to be exposed publicly in recent years, Larry Nassar, the Scouts as well as other institutions were successful in lobbying lawmakers to only open a revival window for 90-days specifically for cases against the disgraced doctor. By preventing survivors of sexual abuse from seeking civil damages against them in the state, the $2.5 million spent by BSA scouts on lobbying efforts from 2011-2017 appears to have been well spent.
Revival Windows Not Only Hold Institutions Accountable but Expose Pedophiles Currently Among Us
Further underscoring the importance in revisions to the statutes of limitations for cases of child sex abuse in all states, is the evidence of recidivism in pedophiles. It is estimated that nearly 40% of sex offenders who have abused children will commit other acts of sexual abuse against future children in their lifetime. Exposing sexual predators at any age, even for crimes they committed decades ago, will only work to prevent other children from being preyed upon by those same individuals.
For decades, attorney Paul Mones has advocated for survivors of childhood sexual abuse and been an indispensable asset for them in seeking justice and damages from institutions such as the church and boy scouts, if you have been a victim under the watch of these behemoth organizations and are in the process of determining if you can seek compensation under new revival window laws in your state, contact Paul Mones today.