ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York residents who were sexually abused as children have an additional five months to sue those responsible after Gov. Andrew Cuomo Friday extended a filing deadline to make up for curtailed court services during the coronavirus pandemic.
The deadline for filing civil claims under the Child Victims Act is now Jan. 14, 2021. The original one-year window for pursuing legal action had been scheduled to close Aug. 14.
The 2019 Child Victims Act suspended the statute of limitations for a year to allow victims to pursue even decades-old allegations of abuse against priests, teachers, Boy Scout leaders and other adults. Cuomo said the pandemic had limited survivors’ ability to file claims and effectively prepare their cases with an attorney.
A coalition of survivors and victims’ advocates in March asked Cuomo to extend the filing period by a full year because of the coronavirus-shortened window. Nearly 1,800 cases had been filed by late March, the group wrote in a letter, and more were expected.
Attorneys representing claimants praised the decision Friday.
“The extension of the CVA filing deadline by Governor Cuomo provides sexual abuse victims with important additional time to continue to have their voices heard, obtain validation and protect children,” Boston attorney Mitchell Garabedian, who represents victims, said in an email.