On Friday, the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York released the names of 115 priests and five deacons who have been accused of sexually abusing children or being in possession of child pornography.
A letter was released alongside the list, in which Cardinal Timothy Dolan wrote that he is aware of “the shame that has come upon our church due to the sexual abuse of minors. I write to ask forgiveness again for the failings of those clergy and bishops who should have provided for the safety of our young people but instead betrayed the trust placed in them by God and by the faithful.”
53 of the priests and deacons on the list were deemed “credibly accused” of sexually abusing minors – meaning that they either admitted to it, were convicted of a crime, or were part of a civil settlement. About half of these clergy members have died.
But sexual abuse survivor advocates are not entirely satisfied with what they say are unreliable and incomplete lists. The lists do not specify the dates or locations of the alleged abuse, nor the responses to the allegations.
The Archdiocese of New York joins over 120 other dioceses throughout the nation that have released similar lists. Only two other archdioceses in the country have not released lists of clergy accused of abuse.
Attorney contributor Laurence Banville specializes in helping survivors of sexual abuse find justice. After several years as a prosecutor, he now represents survivors in civil lawsuits. Here is some information from Laurence on the legal options available to survivors of church sex abuse in New York:
In February 2019, NY Governor Andrew Cuomo signed The New York Child Victims Act, which greatly expanded the rights of clergy sex abuse survivors in New York. This new law allows survivors to file civil lawsuits for injuries caused by sexual abuse up until their 55th birthday. This means that many survivors who thought too much time had passed to take legal action can now find justice by filing a lawsuit.
Additionally, survivors whose cases have already passed the previous statute of limitations will have a one-year window to file a claim, beginning six months from the date that the Act was signed into law. So beginning in August, survivors have approximately one year to file a lawsuit for claims that were previously barred through the statute of limitations.
If you or someone you love is a survivor of sexual abuse, it’s not too late to find justice for the trauma you and your family have suffered. You can learn more about your legal options by speaking to an experienced sex abuse survivors attorney in a free consultation.