• A NY law would give sexual-assault survivors one year to sue beyond the statute of limitations.
  • The Adult Survivors Act goes into effect Thanksgiving Day and there is likely to be a flood of cases.
  • spoke to a prospective plaintiff who says she was sexually assaulted by a prison guard in 1997.

A prison guard walked into the women’s dorm at the now-closed Bayview Correctional Facility in Manhattan and patted the wife, who was sleeping on a bunk, on the shoulder.

“I need you to clean the bathroom.” According to the wife’s recollection of the 1997 exchange, he told her.

The wife asked if she could do it in the morning, but the guard insisted. So she went to the bathroom, got down on her knees and started cleaning the toilet. Moments later, the guard entered the bathroom, opened his zipper, and forced the wife to perform oral sex, he said in an interview 25 years after the alleged assault.

“I was gagging and I was crying,” said the wife. She said she considered shouting to wake up the other women, but did not.

Now, for the first time since the attack, she is gearing up to hold her alleged assailant accountable.

The New York Adult Survivors Act gives women one year from Thursday to file complaints against an alleged assailant and other responsible parties for incidents of sexual assault at any time in their adult lives, which is 18 years old within the new state. Begins at the age of York.

One notable lawsuit expected under the new law is against former President Donald Trump.

Former Elle columnist E. A lawyer representing Jean Carroll said plan to sue trump for battery and intentional emotional distress under ASA.

Carroll accused Trump in 2019 of sexually assaulting her in a dressing room in the mid-1990s, but has so far only sued her for defamation based on his response to her allegation.

Claims like Carroll’s are generally out of bounds because they fall outside the statute of limitations, which in New York in 2019 was extended to 20 years for civil lawsuits involving certain sex crimes. That block will now be temporarily lifted, and there is no limit on damages.

The wife, who asked to be identified by her initials for privacy reasons, never reported the sexual assault, she said, because she was in shock and didn’t feel she had a choice.

The guard who she said sexually assaulted her at the time told her that if she told anyone, he would revoke her weekend privileges, which allowed her to leave the facility to visit her family.

Levi Konigsberg partner Anna Kull, who is representing BV, said, “Most women want to move on with their lives, and that’s why it’s important to have longer statutes of limitations, because until then a sexual-assault survivor is ready.” It happens.” To confront what happened to her and to bring it to the attention of the legal system and initiate legal proceedings may be too late.”

no institution is safe

Kul said she expects hundreds of women who were previously jailed to come forward under the new law.

According to the data, each year from 2015 to 2019 there were hundreds of reports of alleged sexual misconduct or abuse within New York Department of Corrections and Community Supervision facilities. published by agency.

“You really would not believe how many women have been sexually assaulted within the New York State prison system,” Kull said.

But she said her firm is also looking forward to cases against medical providers, institutions and individual doctors. And Lawrence Pearson, partner at Vigdor LLP, outlines some of the lawsuits he expects to be filed against teachers and educational institutions, hospitals and religious centers.

“Those cases name and hold accountable not only the individuals involved in sexual harassment or other sexually abusive conduct, but also the organizations, whether employers or other organizations that generally enable or Let’s cover up the abusive conduct,” Pearson said.

In a statement to TOI, DOCCS said it has “zero tolerance for sexual exploitation, sexual harassment and unauthorized relationships” and “thoroughly investigates all reports of sexual harassment.”

The New York State Correctional Officers and Police Benevolent Association, which represents security services personnel across the state, declined to comment.

a limited window

The one-year period under the ASA means that there is a limited period for filing suits.

A similar law, the Child Victims Act, was passed in 2019 and allows child sexual abuse survivors in New York to file claims for one year, otherwise it would have gone beyond the statute of limitations.

The then Govt. Andrew Cuomo extended the window another year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, allowing for thousands of additional lawsuits. almost 11,000 cases filed The Child Victims Act was in effect during the two-year period.

Pearson said the CVA could provide insight into how many lawsuits will be filed in response to the ASA this year.

“Under the ASA, the Adult Survivors Act, which covers people who were not minors when they were abused or sexually assaulted, you are clearly talking about a large population of potential accusers, and People who were assaulted or abused,” he said. “And therefore, it is quite possible that the amount of claims [will be] Even in a year ending the look-back period under the ASA, that multiplies the number of Child Victims Act cases by more than two years.”

Imani’s SafehouseA New York-based organization that supports incarcerated women is working on educating survivors of sexual assault about ASA.

Founder Jennifer Feku reports that some women have said they can’t remember their abuser’s name or have expressed reluctance to address the trauma of their abuse. Others were in disbelief that the ASA actually existed, Feku said.

Beevi said she didn’t know the ASA existed until she stumbled upon it while researching police brutality cases.

Lawyers point out that the lack of awareness among survivors, combined with the limited time frame, likely indicates that only a fraction of sexual abuse survivors will actually follow through with filing a lawsuit.

“I don’t care how many cases a firm has — it’s just a small percentage of the actual number of women who experience sexual harassment,” Total said.

Nevertheless, ASA still offers some hope for many, including BV.

“I can’t believe they’re actually trying to show respect for the things that were done to us,” Beevi said.

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