ALBANY — The Child Victims Act that opened a one-year window to allow survivors to sue their abusers will be extended to Jan. 14, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Friday.
Cuomo said he would take unilateral action to extend the law for five months because of the difficultly filing cases due to the coronavirus pandemic that has caused limited access to the court system.
The law was set to expire Aug. 14.
"Because of the reduction in court services, we want to extend that window, and we’ll extend it for an additional five months," Cuomo said during his daily briefing at Marist College in Poughkeepsie.
Lawmakers have pressed even before coronavirus struck to have the law extended for a year, saying victims should have more time to bring their cases forward.
As of mid-March, New York had more than 1,700 cases since the law was first opened for filings last August. But new filings have been on hold after the courts went to a limited schedule during the coronavirus outbreak.
The courts are expected in the coming weeks to reopen the filing period, according to the state Office of Court Administration.
The law created a one-year, one-time-only period where victims can file claims against their abusers and the institutions that harbored them, regardless of how long ago the abuse took place.
The one-year window applies only to civil claims. The law also extended the statute of limitations for criminal child sexual abuse cases, which had been among the shortest in the country.
Prosecutors have until a child sex abuse victim turns 28 to seek a felony indictment, up from the previous age of 23.