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3,800 Sexual Assault Claims Were Filed Under NY Extended Deadline

It’s been just over a week since a one-year window closed allowing people to file sexual assault claims that would typically have been too old to file, under the Adult Survivors Act. Still, lawmakers, attorneys, and advocates are considering ways to allow people who missed the deadline to file lawsuits, Gothamist reports. Another recent law opened a "lookback" window that began last fall and gave sexual assault victims who didn’t pursue litigation within the legal time limit a second chance to do so. The window closed last Thursday and state data shows more than 3,800 civil claims were filed in courts across New York under the act. Filing claims was just the beginning for the thousands of people who have civil claims and will likely spend months, if not years, litigating their cases. New York’s statute of limitations for civil lawsuits alleging some sex offenses, including rape and first-degree aggravated sexual abuse extended the time limit from five to 20 years in 2019. For those who have already filed a civil claim through the Adult Survivors Act, this moment is like “mile three or four of a marathon,” said Adam P. Slater, an attorney with Slater Slater Schulman LLP, which filed about 1,800 sexual assault lawsuits under the state law. He hopes the accused will try to reach settlements quickly and avoid protracted legal battles, to protect survivors of sexual assault from additional pain, especially in the more than 1,700 cases his firm has brought against state and local governments for alleged assaults in prisons and jails. State Sen. Brad Hoylman-Sigal, who sponsored the Adult Survivors Act, said he’s seriously considering legislation that would give more time for people to bring sexual assault lawsuits, a proposal that many advocates and lawyers are supporting. Hoylman-Sigal said he may propose an extension of the Adult Survivors Act during the next legislative session, which begins in January. He’s also considering an end to the statute of limitations for sexual assault lawsuits altogether. “I wonder if we reopened the window or had a permanent window, if more cases would come forward,” Hoylman-Sigal said. Lawsuits filed under the Adult Survivors Act have named government agencies, corporations, and other powerful entities, including the NYPD, the city and state departments of correction, and local hospital systems.

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