It was a law that gave voice to the victims of historical sexual assaults, and led to high-profile cases and settlements against prominent figures including Donald Trump, Sean “Diddy” Combs and Bill Cosby. Now, New York’s groundbreaking Adult Survivors Act (ASA) is poised to expire, closing the door on the opportunity for survivors to have their stories heard and to seek justice for wrongs and trauma they suffered years ago, the Guardian reports. The law took effect on Thanksgiving Day last year after the New York legislature authorized a “look-back period” for sexual assault cases where the statute of limitations had run out. Advocates predicted that the temporary measure would turn a trickle of lawsuits in the state’s civil courts into a flood. When the act sunsets this Thursday, more than 2,500 actions will have been filed. They included some that made global headlines, with perhaps the most notorious being writer E Jean Carroll’s $5 million victory in a defamation and molestation case from 27 years earlier that branded Donald Trump a sexual abuser.
Last week, hip-hop icon Sean "Diddy" Combs settled an abuse case involving the singer Cassie, his former girlfriend, who alleged he viciously beat, drugged and raped her multiple times during their relationship that began in 2005. Combs admitted no wrongdoing in the financial settlement with his former partner, whose real name is Casandra Ventura. The allegations were unlikely ever to have been aired but for the act’s existence. “The Adult Survivors Act marks a monumental victory for survivors whose courage and commitment resulted in a viable path to justice and healing for thousands,” said Liz Roberts of the domestic abuse victim advocacy group Safe Horizon. “The one-year look back window has enabled survivors to take back their power by pursuing a suit against the person who caused them harm, or a negligent institution, without fear of the statute of limitations."