New York Sexual Abuse & Assault Attorneys

Peters Brovner is a boutique law firm that represents survivors of sexual abuse and assault, including victims of child sexual abuse. The firm has recovered millions of dollars in monetary compensation for survivors of sexual abuse and assault.

What is the Statute of Limitations for New York Sexual Abuse?

Child Sexual Assault Survivors:

In February 2019, New York State passed a “lookback window,” the Child Victims Act (CVA), extending the statute of limitations for survivors of child sexual abuse in criminal and civil cases in New York.

Previously, in most criminal cases, the statute of limitations for felony offenses ended when the survivor turned 23; now, the CVA increases the statute of limitations until the survivor turns 28. For misdemeanor offenses, the statute of limitations had ended when the survivor turned 20 but has now been increased to 25 years of age.

In civil cases, prior to the CVA, the victims of child sexual abuse had only a short window of years, after turning 18, to bring a civil lawsuit against their abuser. The CVA created a “lookback window” allowing a child victim of sexual abuse whose claim was previously time barred to bring an action up until August 14, 2020. That window was later extended to August 14, 2021. For most claims that have not yet expired, the survivor now has until they turn 55 to file a claim.

Adult Sexual Assault Survivors:

For victims of sexual abuse who were 18 or older at the time of the abuse, in criminal cases, the statute of limitation is generally five years for felonies, and two years for misdemeanors – some of which can be quite serious.  However, in September 2019, the Legislature extended the limitations period for rape and sexual assault in the third degree to 10 years and rape and sexual assault in the second degree to 20 years. The statute of limitations was eliminated for incest in the first degree.

For civil cases, adult survivors of sexual abuse generally have three years to file a claim. However, under the 2019 law, for certain crimes – second-degree rape and sexual abuse – the statute of limitations is now twenty years.

On May 24, 2022, New York State enacted the Adult Survivors Act.  The Act, which went into effect six months after enactment created a one year “lookback window” for adult survivors of sexual assault to bring lawsuits that would otherwise have been time barred.

The Child Victims Act

In February 2019, New York State passed a “lookback window,” the Child Victims Act (CVA), extending the statute of limitations for child victims of child sexual abuse in criminal and civil cases in New York.

Under the CVA, survivors could file claims against both private and public institutions as well as individuals, in order to hold sexual predators to account.

The CVA allowed survivors of sexual abuse to hold powerful institutions liable for abuse that those institutions had tolerated for years. It helped more than eight-thousand victims bring sexual abuse cases and seek justice for the wrongs committed against them.

The Adult Survivors Act

The Adult Survivors Act (ASA), went into effect on November 24, 2022, and created a one-year lookback window for survivors of sexual abuse who are over eighteen years of age and whose claims are presently time barred.

The ASA was a necessary companion bill to the CVA. Given the historical stigma attached to sexual assault, as well as the career threat that reporting assault by a superior at work can entail, it is no surprise that many sexual assault survivors did not report their assaults at the time they occurred or in the years immediately following. With time, however, some survivors are able to come forward. Unfortunately, by the time they do so, the statute of limitations has often passed, and so legal redress is unavailable. The ASA, by creating a lookback window, helped to solve this problem. Like the CVA, it allowed survivors to finally hold powerful institutions and individuals accountable for their conduct.

Examples of Sexual Abuse and Assault

With regards to sexual assault, it’s important to remember that the incident is never the victim’s fault.  If force or coercion are used and/or the actions are nonconsensual – not wanted or agreed to – an assault occurred.

Types of sexual assault include any unwanted sexual activity, including:

  • attempted rape
  • fondling
  • sexual contact or touching
  • forcing the victim to perform sexual acts
  • rape: unlawful sexual intercourse or penetration of the victim’s body by a body part or object

Employers or other officials with oversight responsibilities who attempt to hide the sexual abuse from the authorities or who remain willfully blind to assaults of people in their care can be held liable in civil proceedings.

Who Are the Common Defendants in New York Sexual Abuse and Assault Cases?

Defendants in sexual abuse and assault cases can include:

  • Individuals
  • Schools (both public & private; universities, including high schools, middle schools, and primary schools)
  • Religious Organizations (e.g the Catholic Church)
  • Recreational Organizations (g. The Boyscouts of America)
  • Volunteer Organizations
  • Hospitals & Nursing Homes

Talking with an Experienced Attorney

The sexual abuse attorneys at the law offices of Peters Brovner LLP focus on holding City, State and private institutions accountable for actions that result in significant harm and personal injury, including failure to protect individuals from sexual abuse. If you or someone you know has been the victim of sexual abuse or assault and you need legal advice, please reach out to the lawyers at Peters Brovner LLP for a free consultation.

Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.