NY Child Victims Act Extended for One Year, Not So For Diocese of Rochester

Praying hands with rosary in church. The Child Victims Act has been extended, however, this does not affect the Diocese of Rochester.Today, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law and extension for the Child Victims Act providing survivors of childhood sexual abuse additional time in which to seek justice and healing through the judicial system. However, this does not affect the Diocese of Rochester which has declared bankruptcy and has a bar date of August 13, 2020. This means that any survivors of childhood sexual abuse in the Diocese of Rochester MUST submit their claim before August 13, 2020.

The CVA extension is welcome news to all survivors of childhood sexual abuse. It allows a proper period in which survivors can muster the courage to come forward and seek justice. Outside of the Diocese of Rochester, the new date for the expiration of the Child Victims Act is August 14, 2021.

In May, both chambers of the state Legislature passed a bill to extend the deadline by a full year, to August 2021, saying they would do so because other states had given victims more than a year to bring suit. The state court system had also been closed by the pandemic, meaning that for several months, new CVA cases couldn’t be filed.

The legislation signed today extends the special filing period by a full year and claims can now be filed under the statute until August 14, 2021.

“The Child Victims Act brought a long-needed pathway to justice for people who were abused, and helps right wrongs that went unacknowledged and unpunished for far too long and we cannot let this pandemic limit the ability for survivors to have their day in court,” Cuomo said in a statement Monday. “As New York continues to reopen and recover from a public health crisis, extending the lookback window is the right thing to do and will help ensure that abusers and those who enabled them are held accountable.”

All legal claims against the Diocese of Rochester must be filed within the next two weeks, according to a federal bankruptcy judge.

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Paul Warren issued the ruling Wednesday, stating August 13, 2020 will be the deadline for filing claims in the Diocese’s Chapter 11 case.

An official committee representing plaintiffs in abuse cases and other unsecured creditors had filed a motion to extend the deadline, but were denied.

The bankruptcy court ruling supersedes the extension of the Child Victims Act deadline, meaning anyone who wants to file a lawsuit under the Child Victims Act can do so - but not against the Diocese after August 13.

There have been 175 sexual abuse proofs of claim filed against the Diocese of Rochester alone, according to court paperwork.

If you or a loved one were sexually abused as a child by an employee, priest, deacon, brother, or nun in the Diocese of Rochester, the time to act is NOW. This is a deadline that is firm and will not change. It is imperative that you contact an experienced sex abuse lawyer as soon as possible to protect your rights, seek healing, and find justice. Attorney Thomas Giuffra has advocated for abuse clients for many years including those who have been abused by members of churches and the much publicized Harvey Weinstein case.

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