A state judge upheld the a New York law that lifted the statute of limitations on sexual abuse claims from beyond the statute of limitations on Wednesday from an organization on the receiving end of over 40 lawsuits.
State Supreme Court Judge Steven Jaeger of Nassau County rejected a bid by the Diocese of Rockville Centre to dismiss 44 lawsuits filed against it under the Child Victims Act, which created a special yearlong period in which New York allowed the filing of molestation lawsuits previously rendered unable by time limits.
The diocese had filed a motion last fall asking the court to dismiss all the claims against it, on the grounds the suspension of time limits on sexual abuse lawsuits was an unconstitutional violation of its due process rights.
Jaeger said in his decision that the New York courts have previously upheld suspensions of time limitations as a remedy in extraordinary cases.
“Based on this legislative history, the court finds the Child Victims Act is a reasonable response to remedy the injustice of past child sexual abuse,” Jaeger wrote. “Accordingly, it does not violate defendant diocese’s right to due process under the New York State Constitution.”
Before the passage of the Child Victims Act, a survivor of child sexual abuse had until the age of 23 to file charges or a civil claim. With the passage of the law, survivors have up until age 28 to file criminal charges, and age 55 to file a lawsuit.
Over 1,700 lawsuits have been filed in New York State since the act was passed. Last week, Gov. Andrew Cuomo recent extended the Act, which was originally set to end in August, to January of 2021.
Places in the Diocese of Rockville Centre named in the lawsuits include Chaminade High School in Mineola, Our Lady of Fatima in Manorhaven, St. Mary’s Church and St. Ignatius Retreat House in Manhasset, St. Agnes Cathedral High School in Rockville Centre, St. Hyacinth Parish and All Saints Regional Catholic School in Glen Head, Good Shepherd Parish and Church in Holbrook, Holy Trinity High School in Hicksville, St. Andrew’s Parish and Elementary School in Sag Harbor, St. Barnabas Parish and Church in Bellmore, St. Joseph’s Parish and Church in Babylon, St. Lawrence Parochial School in Sayville, St. Patrick’s Parish and School in Bay Shore and St. Philip and St. James Church in St. James, Camp Alvernia in Centerport, Holy Family School in Hicksville, St. Hugh’s in Huntington Station, St. Ignatius Loyola in Hicksville, St. John of God in Central Islip, St. John’s Hospital in Smithtown and St. Rosalie’s in Hampton Bays.