Latest Legal Decision Results in Thousands of Lawsuits Filed by Abuse Victims

Latest Legal Decision Results in Thousands of Lawsuits Filed by Abuse Victims

( – Anglo law has recognized statutes of limitations for centuries. They are applicable in both civil and criminal proceedings and forbid the initiation of legal action after a specified number of years has passed since witness memories can fade and evidence can deteriorate or become difficult to find.

New York lawmakers temporarily set aside the statutes of limitations on civil lawsuits for victims of childhood sexual abuse with the passage of the Child Victims Act on January 28, 2019. That extension expired on Saturday, August 14, but not before victims filed more than 9,200 lawsuits against individuals, institutions and groups that let the abuse happen.

The lawsuits included thousands of accusations of abuse by Catholic clergy members and more than a thousand against Boy Scouts leaders. Other lawsuits targeted family members, teachers, coaches and a host of other individuals and groups.

The Boy Scouts of America and four of New York’s eight Catholic Dioceses filed for bankruptcy protection due to the lawsuits. It remains unclear what effect those proceedings might have on the victims’ lawsuits. However, it shouldn’t impact the negative publicity faced by the Catholic Church and the BSA.

The cutoff for filing new lawsuits could speed up the final resolution of large claims because attorneys for defendants will know the exact number of claims their clients face. We will keep you posted as more information becomes available.

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