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By Stephen P. White, The Catholic Thing, Aug. 15, 2019
The eight Catholic dioceses of New York are bracing themselves against a flood of lawsuits over clerical sexual abuse. A new law, known as the Child Victims Act, was passed early this year and signed by Governor Andrew Cuomo in February. Among the provisions of the new law is a one-year “look-back window,” during which civil cases that had passed the statute of limitations can be revived.
That window opened yesterday, August 14.
New civil suits are being filed. Hundreds, perhaps thousands, more are expected to be filed in the coming weeks and months. (I just Googled “Child Victims Act” and the first four results are advertisements for trial lawyers with offices in New York.)
Given the increased liability for the Catholic Church – and the fact that the bishops of New York trust Governor Cuomo about as far as they can throw him – you might suspect that the bishops would be opposed to the new law. And they were. Or rather, they were opposed to earlier versions of the law, and had been for years. But they withdrew their opposition in late January, just before the bill was passed. ….