On February 14, 2019, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo signed into law the Child Victims Act, thus ending a decade’s old battle to change New York State’s rules regarding victims of childhood sexual abuse.
Prior to the enactment of the new law, all such victims had to initiate any civil claims and/or criminal claims they wished to pursue against their abuser before they turned 23.
They also had to initiate any civil and/or criminal claims they wished to pursue against any institution that was involved in their abuse before they turned 21.
Not surprisingly, very few claims for childhood sexual abuse were ever initiated in New York State. That’s because it often takes victims a long period of time before they can speak out about what happened to them, let alone take steps to do something about it.
Here are some interesting research outcomes regarding the topic of childhood sexual abuse:
– 1 in 5 girls and 1 in 20 boys is a victim of childhood sexual abuse.
– Between 60% and 80% of adults who were sexually abused as children don’t disclose it until they are adults.
– Only a small minority of people who were sexually abused as children – i.e., 10% – 18% – recall any authorities being told of what happened to them.
– A study funded by the National Institute of Mental Health concluded that the typical child sex offender “molests an average of 117 youngsters, most of whom do not report the offense”.
– Survivors of childhood sexual abuse are 10 to 13 times more likely to attempt suicide.
– 73% of childhood sexual abuse victims do not tell anyone about the abuse for at least 1 year; 45% do not tell anyone for 5 years; and some never disclose it at all.
Under the Child Victims Act, new victims of childhood sexual abuse will be able to file a criminal complaint against their alleged abuser any time before they turn 28. And new victims of childhood sexual abuse will also be able to pursue civil claims against their alleged abuser – and/or against any institution that was involved in the abuse – until they reach the age of 55.
Although it’s been alleged that Keith Raniere, the head of the NXIVM slave cult, has been sexually abusing underage girls most of his adult life, the reality is that he has not engaged in any such activity for the past 11 months. But that’s only because he’s been incarcerated throughout that period of time at the Metropolitan Detention Center (MDC) in Brooklyn, NY, awaiting trial on a variety of charges that could lead to him spending the rest of his life in federal prison.
So, Raniere may be sitting in his cell at MDC thinking how lucky he is that New York State just got around to finally passing the Child Victims Act. Otherwise, he could be facing criminal rape charges – and some huge civil lawsuits.
Well, Keith, we’ve got some good news – and some bad news – for you.
The “good news” is that you will very likely not face any criminal charges for all those underage girls that you raped over the years.
But the “bad news” is that’s there a provision in the Child Victims Act that establishes a one-year “litigation window” for any victim, regardless of age, to take civil action against their perpetrator and/or the institution that was involved in the abuse.
Yep, that’s right, Keith. All those underage girls you raped over the years will now be able to bring civil claims against you – and very likely against all your NXIVM-related entities. And since NXIVM was almost totally dependent on Clare and Sara Bronfman for the funds it needed to maintain its operations, they may be also be held liable in any such lawsuits.
Oh, and one more thing: the Child Victims Act won’t go into effect for another 6 months – which means that the 1-year window for all your victims to file those lawsuits won’t run out until sometime in August 2020.
Viva Executive Success!
As readers might expect, lawyers are coming out of the woodwork to sign up anyone who was sexually abused as a child.
And which law firm in the Albany area is trying to market itself as the “go-to” law firm for filing claims for those victims?
None other than the once-prestigious, now not-so-much O’Connell & Aronowitz law firm.
The same firm that initiated so many legal actions on behalf of Raniere and his sex cult now want to represent victims of childhood sexual abuse. Seriously, I’m not making this up.
If you were sexually abused as a child, Steve Coffey, Pam Nichols and Mike McDermott want to represent you – and ensure that you get all the money you’re entitled to collect and that they get a large chunk of whatever you collect.
Every time you think those three stooges can’t be any sleazier, they prove you wrong.