Articles Posted in Emotional Distress

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

A recent report by the New York Times details some of the sex abuse claims filed against the Boy Scouts of America. As part of the organization’s bankruptcy proceedings, the organization has encouraged victims of sexual abuse to file claims against it, and will settle an undetermined amount of these claims via a compensation fund of an undetermined size. More than 80,000 claims were filed by a November deadline, though survivors in states like New York may yet be able to file claims against local chapters of the Boy Scouts.

The claims that have been filed so far involve alleged conduct in ever state, as well as alleged cases in military bases overseas, such as in Japan and Germany. According to theTimes, “the accusers range in age from 8 to 93,” and while a majority of men, some claimants are women. As the Times explains, the Boy Scouts of America was established in 1910 and received a congressional charter in 1916. It is currently attempting to reorganize through Chapter 11 bankruptcy. While it had around 5 million members in the 1970s, it currently has about 2.2 million members. Continue reading

Almost 90,000 sexual abuse claims were filed against the Boy Scouts of America in advance of a filing deadline last month. The claims, made in connection with the organizations bankruptcy proceedings, will be vetted, with an undetermined number to be settled from a compensation fund established during the bankruptcy process. Although that deadline has passed, claimants in New York can still file sexual abuse claims against local Boy Scouts of America councils, due to state law extending the period in which survivors of sexual abuse can file lawsuits. Continue reading

A new study out of Toronto’s institute for Work and Health found that people working under inadequate Covid-19 safety measures may have increased rates of mental health issues. The study, conducted with Occupational Health Clinics for Ontario Workers, surveyed approximately 9,000 people, about 6,000 of which worked in health care settings, and of which 3,500 worked in non-healthcare settings.

Workers were presented with questions about “the perceived need and adequacy of eight types of PPE and 10 different infection control practices on the job,” according to a report by Safety+Health. It included such personal protective equipment as gloves, masks, eye protection, face shields, respirators, air purifying equipment, gowns, and hand sanitizer. As for infection control measures, these included “screening incoming patients, having asymptomatic patients wear masks, restricted access and controlled flow of COVID-19 patients in a facility, ventilation, and cleaning/disinfection practices,” according to Safety+Health. Continue reading

More than eighty patients filed suit against a California women’s hospital for allegedly filming them while undressed and receiving medical care. These women claim that the secretly recorded footage includes them in stirrups receiving intimate medical procedures, sterilizations, and dilation and curettages after miscarriages, according to The Washington Post. The secret recordings took place over an 11-month period and could include up to 1,800 patients.

In response to the allegations, Sharp Grossmont Hospital concedes that computer monitors with “motion-activated cameras” were in three different operating rooms at the hospital during the time period. The hospital said the cameras were angled towards the “medication carts” and part of an investigation into missing narcotics at the hospital. While these “motion-activated” cameras were activated when sensing motion, they continued to record for long periods of time. This resulted in many patients have sensitive and personal medical procedures recorded without their permission. According to the lawsuit, these recordings showed patients “conscious and unconscious, partially robed on operating room tables, undergoing medical procedures and communicating with their doctors and medical personnel.”

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Five years after introducing the legislation in Albany, New York became the 42nd state to outlaw “revenge porn” last month. While the state may have been late to pass the long-awaited legislation, New York’s revenge porn law will be one of harshest in the country. Victims of revenge porn describe upended lives and deeply personal humiliation, which was only compounded by the inability of New York authorities to help. Speaking to The New York Times, one victim of revenge porn, Carrie Goldberg, said that her ex-boyfriend would constantly email nude pictures of her to work colleagues. Goldberg described trying to stop him as an “inescapable nightmare” – the police said they could not do anything, and prosecutors said he had not broken a law.

Now, victims say their “years of helplessness” are finally over. Under the new law, anyone found guilty of disseminating or publishing revenge porn could face up to a year in prison. New York’s law goes further than merely criminalizes revenge porn, though. Similar to twelve other states, New York revenge porn victims will be able to file a lawsuit against the person responsible. With a lower burden of proof and the opportunity to recoup damages to a victim’s reputation, the opportunity to pursue a civil case will provide another avenue for victims to seek justice. Regardless, the solicitous images will be removed from the internet because the new law allows judges to order websites and social media platforms to remove them. According to The New York Times, all other states only require the offender to remove the offending images or videos.

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A health professor at the City University of New York (CUNY) filed the first civil lawsuit under New York City’s “Revenge Porn” law, which was passed in November last year and went into effect in February. The professor, Dr. Spring Chenoa Cooper, alleges that her ex-boyfriend shared explicit images and videos of her online and linked the intimate material to her CUNY faculty page, in an attempt to harass her and destroy her career.

In her lawsuit, Cooper alleges that after ending a “tumultuous” relationship with her ex-boyfriend, Ryan Broems, in November, he began harassing her for weeks online by asking her invasive and inappropriate questions about her relationships and sex life. After blocking his text messages and social media accounts, she received a message from an unknown Tumblr account that demanded she provide intimate details of her life or else intimate pictures and videos of her would be posted online. After refusing the Tumblr user’s demands, intimate videos and pictures of her appeared on the user’s page. In the lawsuit, Cooper alleges that the Tumblr user is her ex-boyfriend Broems because he is the only person who received the explicit photographs and videos.

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