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New bill aims to give legal power to adult victims of sex abuse

Posted at 5:44 PM, Dec 24, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-24 17:44:30-05

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Lawmakers say survivors of adult sex abuse deserve their day in court, and that's why the Adult Survivors Act was introduced in the fall.

The bill is designed to let victims sue over abuse that happened to them when they were 18 or older. They would be given a temporary one-year window.

Attorney Paul Cambria said he thinks this bill could be subject to the challenge that an expanded statute of limitations is unconstitutional.

"With the first statute it was well they were underage so they weren't familiar with the legal process or what have you, they were more vulnerable victims," said Cambria. "Now, these are people who are 18 and over, they can vote, they can go to war."

Attorney Steve Boyd said if the bill passes, the plaintiff would still have the burden of proof, and it would at least give them their day in court.

"If you look at the Harvey Weinstein, if you look at the Epstein case there are a lot of women who were coerced, abused, forced into sexual acts in adulthood," said Boyd.

The Child Victim's Act gave survivors of childhood sexual abuse a one-year window to file lawsuits.

Boyd said his firm is handling close to 340 Child sexual abuse victims cases between Buffalo and Rochester.

New York is one of several states to enact rules that either extend or suspend the statute of limitations depending on past claims.

This legislation is expected to go under consideration at the start of the next legislative session, which starts January 8.