NY Law Lets Adult Sex-Abuse Survivors Sue After Statute of Limitations

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

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

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

The law also lets survivors sue organizations, like schools, businesses, and religious institutions, that were allegedly complicit in any wrongdoing.

To qualify, survivors must have been 18 years or older when the abuse occurred. A previous New York law, the Child Victims Act, extended similar rights to minors. 

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

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

“Dearest friends, tonight, a few minutes after midnight, we filed the rape suit against the former president,” Carroll said in a statement. “The new suit may ruin the former president’s Thanksgiving, but it will be nourishing to every woman who’s ever been grabbed, groped, harassed, pinched, prodded, assaulted, smeared or dragged through the mud by a powerful man.”

The law is likely to kick off a deluge of new lawsuits, including hundreds from women who suffered abuse in the New York prison system. The New York 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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