Child Victims Act

Get to Know The Statute of Limitations in New York:

The main statute (NY CPLR 213-c) gives victims 5 years from the time of being sexually assaulted to sue their predator.  A separate statute (NY CPLR 208) tolls that 5-year requirement until the victim reaches age 18.  However, this tolling statute only allows an additional 3-year period, not the full 5 years (unless the victim is older than 16 when the abuse occurs, in which case the original 5-year period will be longer).

When it comes to public or private institutions, organizations or entities that might have negligently overlooked, fostered, facilitated, covered up, concealed, or otherwise shared culpability or responsibility for the predator’s abuse of the child, victims have only 3 years from the date of their assault to civilly sue such an institution; this is the same statute that applies to a slip and fall claim (NY CPLR 214).

There are a couple of additional statutes that are relevant.  Under NY CPLR 213-b, if the state arrests, tries and wins a conviction, by verdict or voluntary plea of guilty, the victim of a crime may bring a civil lawsuit against the perpetrator (and only the perpetrator), up to 10 years following that conviction.

Under NY CPLR 215(8)(b), if the state commences a criminal action against the predator for the criminal sexual abuse perpetrated against the victim, then the victim has 5 years from the termination of that criminal action to commence a civil lawsuit, again only as against that predator.

In 2006, the NY Legislature revised the 5-year criminal statute of limitations such that criminal offenses like rape, aggravated sexual abuse, or course of sexual conduct against a child can be prosecuted at any time, but if the abuse doesn't fall within these limited categories, the state must commence its criminal proceeding against the perpetrator before the victim turns 23, unless the crime has been reported to the authorities at an earlier time.  NY Crim. Procedure L. § 30.10.  The 2006 reformed limitations period in the criminal statute is not retroactive, however, so for criminal sexual misconduct occurring before 2006, the prior, 5-year period is still in effect. 

Presently, New York’s statutory scheme for redressing wrongs arising from child sexual abuse and assault is among the most restrictive, and least likely to afford justice, in the country.

To understand why the disclosure process is not adequately provided for in NY law, check out this link to a non-profit called NY Loves Kids run by Olympic Skater, Bridie Farrell:

Contributions of above content by Alani Golanski