New York Child Victims Act Allows Buffalo Plaintiffs Their Day in Court

Published on August 29, 2019 by Sandy Liebhard

Sexual abuse survivors throughout New York State are taking advantage of the recently-passed Child Victims Act to hold their alleged abusers accountable, along with the institutions and individuals who they claim enabled their victimization.

Child Victims Act Lawsuit 4th Against Defendant

One of the most recent Child Victims Act lawsuits was filed on Monday in Erie County by a 55-year-old woman and one-time student of the former Immaculata Academy of Hamburg.

The complaint claims Michael W. McQuire “sexually assaulted, sexually abused and/or had sexual contact” with the plaintiff, beginning in 1980 when she was just 16 years old. The alleged abuse did not end once she graduated, and continued until the plaintiff turned 20.

According to WGRZ TV in Buffalo, this marks the fourth time McGuire has been named in a child sexual abuse lawsuit. As in the other cases, the latest complaint charges that he “organized parties at his home and supplied alcohol to minors with the full knowledge that plaintiff and others were all minors.”

This Child Victims Act lawsuit also names the Roman Catholic Diocese of Buffalo, the Franciscan Sisters of St. Joseph, and Immaculata Academy as defendants.

Former West Seneca Teacher Accused of Abusing Student

The second case filed in Erie County on Monday claims that a former student at West Seneca East High School was “groomed, sexually assaulted and abused” by Anthony Harper beginning in the fall of 1999, and continuing through June of 2000.

Apparently, this isn’t the first accusation against Harper, who worked for the West Seneca School District for over 10 years. According to WGRZ, he resigned from his job as a French teacher and wrestling coach at West Seneca East Middle School in 2008. That same year, Harper pled guilty to a criminal sex act involving another student, and ultimately served two years in prison.

The Child Victims Act lawsuit names both Harper and the West Seneca School District as defendants.

About the New York Child Victims Act

The New York Child Victims Act became law in February, giving adult survivors of child sexual abuse more time to file criminal and civil claims against those responsible by:

  • Extending the statute of limitations for criminal felony charges until a victim’s 28th birthday.
  • Allowing survivors to file civil lawsuits against perpetrators and the institutions that enabled their abuse until they turn 55.
  • Opening a one-year, one-time-only window allows survivors of any to file previously time-barred civil claims. That window opened on August 14, 2019.

More than 500 Child Victims Act lawsuits have been filed in courts throughout New York since the one-year filing window went into effect. However, legal experts believe thousands of such cases could be filed before the window closes next year.

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