benstevens/iStock(NEW YORK) — The number of people suing the Catholic dioceses in New York over abuse they allegedly suffered as children continues to grow.
Ten new lawsuits were filed on Monday, adding to the list of cases that have mounted against the diocese of Brooklyn in the wake of New York’s Child Victim’s Act, a new law that took effect Aug. 14 and allows a one-year window for victims to file civil claims in connection to child abuse no matter the statute of limitations.
The 10 lawsuits filed Monday are being handled by the law firm of Jeff Anderson and Associates. Mike Reck, an attorney for the firm, told ABC News that they have filed nearly 300 lawsuits across New York state since the Child Victims Act window opened.
The alleged abuse detailed in the new lawsuits spans from 1952 to 1982, and involves priests, brothers and a Catholic school teacher. Of the 11 men accused in the suits, seven are believed to be dead, and the whereabouts of the four remaining men are unknown.
Adriana Rodriguez, the press secretary for the diocese of Brooklyn, said that they work “to eradicate sexual abuse every day.”
“Sexual abuse of a minor is a horrendous crime that has hurt children in our Church and in society as a whole. The Diocese of Brooklyn takes all allegations of sexual abuse seriously. On the ten new cases filed, we are just learning about them and need to carefully review the allegations made in these lawsuits,” Rodriguez said in a statement.
She noted that four of the priests named in the lawsuits have been previously included in a list issued by the diocese that names credibly accused priests.
“The Diocese of Brooklyn has apologized to victims who have suffered due to sexual abuse by clergy. And we have instituted the most aggressive policies when it comes to child protection. The Diocese conducts initial and ongoing background checks of all employees and volunteers and requires age-appropriate sexual abuse awareness training for children and any adults who work with children,” Rodriguez said in the statement.
The number of lawsuits that will inevitably be filed against institutions like the Catholic Church and others is expected to grow during the window allowed by the new law
Even after the one year window expires, many survivors of alleged child sexual abuse will still be able to seek justice under the Child Victims Act. Civil suits can now be filed until the alleged victim turns 55 years old, up from the current 23. And the state’s statute of limitations on criminal charges against alleged child sexual abusers has been expanded to until their victims turn 28 in certain cases, rather than 23.
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