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New York law allows survivors of adult sexual abuse to sue after statute of limitations


  • A new New York law allows survivors of sexual assault to file new lawsuits, regardless of when the abuse happened in the past.
  • The Adult Survivors Act went into effect Thursday, giving survivors a one-year window to file civil lawsuits.
  • E. Jean Carroll, who claims former President Donald Trump raped her in the 1990s, sued him on Thursday for defamation and assault.

Adult survivors of sexual assault in New York can now pursue legal action against their alleged attackers even if the statute of limitations for the crime has expired.

The Adult Survivors Act, which New York Governor Kathy Hochul signed into law in May, went into effect Thursday. It gives survivors a one-year window to bring civil lawsuits against people they accuse of sexual abuse, regardless of when that abuse occurred in the past.

The law also allows survivors to sue organizations, such as schools, businesses and religious institutions, that have allegedly been complicit in any wrongdoing.

To be eligible, survivors must be 18 or older at the time of the abuse. An earlier New York law, the Child Victims Act, granted similar rights to minors.

“While our work is not done, eradicating sexual assault begins with our ability to bring perpetrators of these heinous acts to justice and this legislation is a historic step forward,” Hochul said at the time of the signing of the law. .

The act allowed E. Jean Carroll, the writer who alleges former President Donald Trump raped her in 1995 or 1996, to sue Trump for defamation and assault on Thursday morning.

“Dear friends, tonight, minutes after midnight, we filed a rape complaint against the former president,” Carroll said in a statement. “The new suit may ruin the former president’s Thanksgiving, but it will be nourishing for all the women who have ever been grabbed, groped, harassed, pinched, pushed, assaulted, smeared or dragged through the mud by a man powerful.”

The law is likely to trigger a deluge of new lawsuits, including hundreds of women who suffered abuse in New York’s prison system. The New York City Department of Corrections and Community Supervision previously told Insider that it has “zero tolerance for sexual abuse, sexual harassment and unauthorized relationships.”

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