Articles Posted in Child Sex Abuse

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On January 28 of this Year New York’s legislative bodies put the final touches on the “Child Victims Act”.  It’s almost law. All that is needed now is Governor Cuomo’s signature, which is sure to come soon.

The new law will extend the statute of limitations for adults who were sexually abused as children from the current 23-years-of-age limit to the victim’s 55th birthday.   And for one year, anyone of any age – even if they are over 55 – will be able to sue.  The law also extends (though not as dramatically) the statute of limitations for bringing criminal charges against the abusers.

This is HUGE.  The new law will extend the statute of limitations for suing both the predators and the institutions or others who, through negligence or callousness, facilitated the sexual abuse.

index.jpgJerry Sandusky sexually abused and raped boys in Penn State showers, and elsewhere on Penn State grounds, and Penn State let him.

Jerry Sandusky is in jail and broke. But Penn State is not. That’s why Sanduski’s victims, now grown men, are suing Penn State and not Sandusky for money damages. You can’t get water from a rock. But Penn State is no rock. It’s a reservoir.

Michaels & Smolak has recently taken on a similar case involving a New York State school district whose administrators knew, or should have known, that one of its teachers was sexually abusing and raping young students. And we are suing the school district rather than the jailed and disgraced teacher. Again, you can’t get water from a rock.

IMG_1094-6792.jpgYesterday Jerry Sandusky was convicted of sexual abusing 10 boys. He will almost certainly spend the rest of his life in jail. Now comes the civil lawsuits for compensation for the victims. Sandusky will get sued, sure he will, but so will Penn State.

Will Penn State be held liable? In Pennsylvania as in New York, an employer is not automatically liable for sex abuse by its employees. Generally the victims must prove the employer knew or should have known what was going on, or else failed to screen new hires properly. Here Penn State ‘s goose is cooked. It knew way too much way too early and did way too little to stop it. You don’t have to have a crystal ball to accurately predict that Penn State will end up paying out millions of dollars to the victims. And rightfully so.

Maybe this very publicized case will dissuade other pedophiles from sexually abusing children. But I doubt it. Even those who are caught aren’t usually dissuaded from doing it again. Convicted pedophiles have an extremely high recidivist rate, which is why a sex offender public registry exists, and why, under New York’s Meagan’s law, they are not allowed to live within 2,000 feet of a school while on parole.

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