Child Victims Act aims to help sex abuse victims take action
A new act will go into effect Wednesday that is designed to help child sex abuse victims take action against their alleged abusers.
As part of the Child Victims Act, people who say they were victims of sexual abuse as children have one year to file civil lawsuits against their abusers, no matter how long ago the alleged abuse occurred. The window to file that suit under the law closes Aug. 14, 2020.
Massapequa native Rich Klein and his lawyer say they plan to file a lawsuit at 12:01 a.m. against the late Dr. Reginald Archibald. Klein alleges that Archibald, a pediatrician who worked at Rockefeller University and died in 2007, took photographs of him naked, "supposedly in the name of medical research, to try to help you."
Klein's lawyer, Jennifer Freeman, says the new law gives adult survivors of child sexual abuse the chance to hold their alleged abusers -- and the institutions for which they worked for -- accountable.
Freeman says her law firm represents more than 500 child sex abuse survivors in New York and expects to file more than 100 civil lawsuits when the law takes effect.
She says the Catholic Church, the Boy Scouts and school districts are among those bracing for an onslaught of lawsuits. The Diocese of Rockville Centre tells News 12 in part, "The financial impact of this law will be far reaching."
Legal experts say anyone who wants to file a civil suit should first talk with an experienced child sex abuse attorney.
The Boy Scouts of America tells News 12 in part, "We are outraged that there have been times when individuals took advantage of our programs to abuse innocent?children. We believe victims, we support them, we pay for counseling by a provider of their choice, and we encourage them to come forward."
Rockefeller University also tells News 12 in a statement, "Rockefeller University is committed to acting responsibly and working constructively with former patients of Dr. Archibald. We profoundly apologize to his patients who experienced pain and suffering as a result of his reprehensible conduct."