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Eight lawsuits have been filed against local Boy Scouts of America councils in Arizona, alleging that scout leaders “sexually abused children dating back decades,” according to a report by the Associated Press. The lawsuits about decades-old allegations are possible thanks to a state law implemented last year that allows victims of child sexual abuse to sue their alleged abusers “and any churches, youth groups or other institutions that turned a blind eye to the abuse” until their 30th birthday.

An attorney representing claimants in the eight Arizona lawsuits told the Associated Press that he expected “to file four more in the state” by the end of 2020. He alleged that the Boy Scouts of America “systematically failed to keep sexual predators who were Scout leaders from preying on children.” Another attorney told the Associated Press that he expected his organization, Abuse In Scouting, would file as many as 300 lawsuits against Arizona by the end of the year. Continue reading

A lawsuit filed last month by New York Attorney General Letitia James alleges that the Roman Catholic Diocese of Buffalo, as well as three bishops associated with the Diocese, participated in the coverup of child sex abuse by its priests. According to the New York Times, the lawsuit represents the state’s first legal action against the Catholic Church since it launched a series of investigations into allegations of abuse in 2018.

The lawsuit alleges that the Diocese “and its two former top leaders… used bureaucratic maneuvers to shelter more than two dozen priests accused of harming children.” The bishop’s names are Richard J. Malone and Edward M. Grosz. In a statement released in connection to the lawsuit, the Attorney General said, “For years, the Diocese of Buffalo and its leadership failed to protect children from sexual abuse… Instead, they chose to protect the very priests who were credibly accused of these atrocious acts. Individuals who are victims of abuse deserve to have their claims justly and timely investigated and determined, and the Buffalo Diocese refused to give them that chance.” Continue reading

On August 14, 2019, a New York state law took effect allowing adult survivors of child sex abuse to file lawsuits against their alleged abuser despite an expired statute of limitations. This look-back window was extended by Governor Andrew Cuomo earlier this year in light of the Covid-19 pandemic, allowing victims an additional year to file such claims. Survivors of child sex abuse now have until January 14, 2021 to file their claims.

Prior to the passage of  the look-back window law, New York citizens could either file a civil lawsuit or bring criminal charges against their alleged abusers until they were 23 years old. As an advocate who helped shape the new legislation told NPR last year, the look-back law “raises the age for criminal charges to age 28 and the age at which someone can bring a lawsuit until age 55.”Asked why it took so long for the law to get passed, the advocate, Ariel Zwang, attributed the delay to “powerful and entrenched interests” who have protected abusers, including “religious institutions” like the Catholic Church and “youth-serving organizations” like the Boy Scouts of America. Continue reading

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