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Victims celebrate state's revised law on child sexual abuse

A litigated matter is most often overseen by a single judge or small panel of justices.

This one was assigned 45 judges from the outset by one state's court system.

And for good reason. Plaintiffs filed a whopping 427 lawsuits concerning its subject matter within a single day last week.

That day was Wednesday, which potentially thousands of individuals were anxiously awaiting since the signing of the New York Child Victims Act back in February. That statutory enactment announced liberalized new rules enabling legions of previously litigation-barred sexual abuse victims to bring claims against perpetrators, no matter how long ago criminal conduct occurred.

The legislation was spotlighted nationally when passed, including in New Mexico. What is now transpiring is of acute interest to victims, their families and law enforcers across the country.

One commentator terms last Wednesday “historic.” He calls it is “a day of reckoning for the Catholic Church, the Boy Scouts of America and all institutions supervising pedophiles.”

Here are the key changes flowing from the Child Victims Act:

  • 365-day “reprieve” for the filing of lawsuits previously time-barred
  • Child sex abuse statute of limitation extended for both felony and misdemeanor offenses
  • Civil suit cutoff for plaintiff victims increased from the age of 23 to their 55th birthday

A national article on the seismic legal changes notes that the legislation was long in coming, being strenuously opposed by Catholic Church authorities for years. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo says that the law is “society’s way of saying we are sorry.”

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