At least 570 Child Victims Act lawsuits have been filed in New York state courts since a one-year window allowing survivors to pursue previously time-barred civil cases opened on August 14th.
According to the New York Post, some of the newly filed claims allege abuse that occurred as far back as 1952.
While the bulk of the lawsuits name various Roman Catholic dioceses, the Boy Scouts of America, and other high-profile institutions as defendants, at least five complaints accuse plaintiffs’ siblings or parents of child sexual abuse. One names a former baby sitter as a defendant, while another accuses a female boss who employed the plaintiff when he was a teen.
At least four other Child Victims Act plaintiffs include the estates of now-deceased victims.
Rockefeller University Hospital in New York City recently announced it had settled around 200 child sexual abuse claims involving the late pedophile pediatrician Reginald Archibald before those cases even made it to court.
However, the confidential settlements are likely only the tip of the iceberg, as Archibald is suspected of molesting more than 1,000 children in his care. According to the Post, a recently filed Child Victims Act lawsuit claims Dr. Barry Dworkin, a colleague of Archibald’s, abused an 11-year-old boy at Rockefeller University Hospital in 1977.
Dworkin, now a professor emeritus at Penn State University, has not commented on the filing. However, the school said the allegations against Dworkin were “deeply disturbing and indicated it would be looking into his employment history.
Abuse survivors and their advocates had pushed to pass the New York Child Victims Act for more than a decade, but failed repeatedly because of vigorous opposition from the Catholic Church, the Boy Scouts, and other powerful institutions that allegedly enabled and protected perpetrators for decades.
The bill finally became law in February, after control of the state legislature passed from Republicans to Democrats and investigations of child abuse coverups in Pennsylvania and other states greatly increased support for the legislation.
Thousands of Child Victims Act lawsuits will likely be filed before the one-year window closes in September 2020. While it’s not clear how much these claims could end up costing the various institutions named as defendants, one attorney told the New York Post that total liability could exceed $1 billion.