fogn.png
Tuesday December 6th, 2022 9:39PM

Wave of sex abuse lawsuits seen as NY opens door for victims

By The Associated Press

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Sexual assault victims in New York will get a one-time opportunity to sue over their abuse starting Thursday, under a new law expected to bring a wave of allegations against prison guards, middle managers, doctors and a few prominent figures including former President Donald Trump.

For one year the state will waive the normal deadlines for filing lawsuits over sex crimes, enabling survivors to seek compensation for assaults that happened years or even decades ago.

Advocates say the Adult Survivors Act is an important step in the national reckoning over sexual misconduct and could provide a measure of justice to people who may have needed time to come forward due to trauma, embarrassment or fear of retaliation.

“I feel like I’ve been in jail for almost three decades,” said Liz Stein, 49, who says she was abused by the millionaire and notorious sex offender Jeffrey Epstein when she was a young woman. “And it’s more than time for me and the other victims to be free of that prison that we’ve been in, and for the people who are accountable to be held accountable.”

The law is modeled after the state’s Child Victims Act, which opened a two-year window in 2019 during which almost 11,000 people sued churches, hospitals, schools, camps, scout groups and other institutions over abuse they said they suffered as children.

Most states that have opened such windows did so only for people abused as children, though New Jersey's included adults.

New York will begin accepting electronic filings on Thanksgiving Day, six months after the law was signed by Gov. Kathy Hochul. Lawyers say they have been getting calls from people considering lawsuits, mostly women.

“I think there will be a lot of women who will say, ‘I think that’s me. Because I think what happened at that Christmas party in 1998 wasn’t right. And I couldn’t tell anybody about it at the time.’ And they want to tell somebody about it,” attorney Jeanne Christensen said.

Legal action has already been promised on behalf of hundreds of women who say they were sexually abused while serving sentences at state prisons.

Other cases could come from college students assaulted by professors, athletes abused by coaches or workers assaulted by bosses.

A lawsuit against Trump is expected from E. Jean Carroll, a longtime advice columnist for Elle magazine who says he raped her in a department store dressing room in the mid-1990s.

Trump denies the allegation, saying Carroll made it up to sell a book. Carroll is already suing Trump for defamation, saying his denials and disparaging comments to the media damaged her reputation.

Claims can be made against negligent institutions and the estates of dead people. Some are expected from women who were inspired to come forward by the #MeToo movement, only to be told that too much time had passed to take legal action.

It’s unclear there will be as many lawsuits as were filed under the Child Victims Act. That law attracted many lawyers because of the possibility of verdicts against deep-pocketed institutions involved in caring for or educating children.

Stein's lawsuit, to be filed by her lawyer, Margaret Mabie, will be against Epstein's longtime companion, Ghislaine Maxwell, and other parties. Stein was working at a shop in Manhattan in 1994 when she met Maxwell, who introduced her to Epstein.

Maxwell is serving a 20-year sentence for helping Epstein sexually abuse underage girls. Maxwell's attorneys did not immediately respond to an email request for comment. Epstein killed himself in jail in 2019 after his arrest on sex trafficking charges.

In addition to the high-profile claims, there will be “many, many more” cases that don’t get publicity, said Liz Roberts, CEO of the victim assistance nonprofit Safe Horizon. Roberts said that for many survivors, just telling their story can be healing.

“I’m just finding my voice, and I’m learning how powerful that can be,” said Laurie Maldonado, one of scores of women who say they were molested during examinations by New York City gynecologist Robert Hadden.

Hadden surrendered his medical license after being convicted in 2016 on sex-related charges in state court. He has pleaded not guilty to federal charges of sexually abusing many young and unsuspecting female patients for over two decades.

The medical institutions that employed Hadden, Columbia University Irving Medical Center and NewYork-Presbyterian, have already resolved claims by 225 women, including one group of 147 that recently settled for $165 million. They said in a statement that they remain open to settling other claims "irrespective of the Adult Survivors Act.”

While the Child Victims Act received a lot of publicity when its window opened in 2019, some advocates are worried too few people are aware of the one opening for adults.

Safe Horizon last week launched a public awareness campaign featuring survivors, including a public service announcement and a news conference in Times Square.

“We’re just keenly aware that a year is a short time,” Roberts said.

  • Associated Categories: U.S. News, Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, Top U.S. News short headlines, Top General short headlines, AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Online Congress News
© Copyright 2022 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Asian stocks mixed after Wall St slide, China virus fears
Asian stock markets are mixed after Wall Street sank and Chinese anti-virus controls fueled concern about an economic slowdown
12:38AM ( 3 minutes ago )
Georgia runoff: Why one Senate seat is crucial for Democrats
Democrats have secured their majority in the Senate for the next two years
12:05AM ( 37 minutes ago )
EXPLAINER: Rail strike would have wide impact on US economy
American consumers and nearly every industry will be affected if freight trains grind to a halt next month
12:01AM ( 41 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Virginia cancels Virginia Tech game after players killed
The University of Virginia has canceled its game against rival Virginia Tech scheduled for Saturday following the slaying of three football players on campus just over a week ago
11:56PM ( 46 minutes ago )
Site of Colorado gay bar shooting 'celebrated' LGBTQ people
In the mostly conservative city of Colorado Springs, Club Q has long been a go-to spot for members of the LGBTQ community — a safe space where many felt they could just be themselves
11:53PM ( 48 minutes ago )
Seoul: Kim's daughter unveiled last week is his 2nd child
South Korea’s spy agency has told lawmakers that the daughter of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un who was recently seen in public for the first time at a missile launch site is his second child
11:48PM ( 53 minutes ago )
AP National News
Gay club shooting suspect evaded Colorado's red flag gun law
The suspect in the Colorado Springs gay nightclub shooting allegedly threatened his mother with a homemade bomb last year
8:14PM ( 4 hours ago )
Bale salvages 1-1 draw for Wales against US in World Cup
Gareth Bale converted a penalty kick in the 82nd minute to offset Tim Weah’s first-half goal and give Wales a 1-1 draw against the United States in the return to the World Cup for both nations
8:09PM ( 4 hours ago )
NASA capsule buzzes moon, last big step before lunar orbit
NASA's Orion capsule has reached the moon, whipping around the far side and passing within about 80 miles
7:57PM ( 4 hours ago )
AP Online National News
Australia ratifies free trade deals with India and Britain
Australia’s Parliament has passed bilateral free trade agreements with India and Britain, leaving those partner nations to bring the deals into force
11:40PM ( 1 hour ago )
Australian trade deals with India and Britain reach Senate
Australian bilateral free trade agreements with India and Britain have entered the Senate with the government pushing to have both deals secured this year
8:48PM ( 3 hours ago )
2nd Arizona county delays certifying election, for now
A second Republican-controlled Arizona county, Mohave, has delayed certifying results of this month's election
8:04PM ( 4 hours ago )
AP Online Headlines - Washington
Malta proposes bill to ease EU's strictest anti-abortion law
Malta’s government has introduced legislation to ease the European Union’s strictest anti-abortion law and allow the procedure in cases where the mother’s life or health is at risk
2:19PM ( 10 hours ago )
US supply chain under threat as unions, railroads, clash
Railroad engineers accepted their deal with the railroads that will deliver 24% raises but conductors rejected the contract
10:49AM ( 13 hours ago )
Malaysia's hung election crisis drags out as party dithers
Malaysia’s longest-ruling coalition says it has not decided which bloc to support after weekend elections left neither with enough seats to form a government on its own, and it would ask the nation’s king to give it more time
1:04AM ( 23 hours ago )
AP Online Congress News
Georgia runoff: Why one Senate seat is crucial for Democrats
Democrats have secured their majority in the Senate for the next two years
12:05AM ( 37 minutes ago )
EXPLAINER: Rail strike would have wide impact on US economy
American consumers and nearly every industry will be affected if freight trains grind to a halt next month
12:01AM ( 41 minutes ago )
DeRozan scores 28 as Bulls stop Celtics' 9-game win streak
DeMar DeRozan scored 28 points, Zach LaVine added 22 and the Chicago Bulls stopped Boston’s nine-game win streak, beating the Celtics 121-107
11:56PM ( 46 minutes ago )
Virginia cancels Virginia Tech game after players killed
The University of Virginia has canceled its game against rival Virginia Tech scheduled for Saturday following the slaying of three football players on campus just over a week ago
11:56PM ( 46 minutes ago )
Site of Colorado gay bar shooting 'celebrated' LGBTQ people
In the mostly conservative city of Colorado Springs, Club Q has long been a go-to spot for members of the LGBTQ community — a safe space where many felt they could just be themselves
11:53PM ( 49 minutes ago )