The Catholic Church Successfully Evaded the Law for Years. Now, Hundreds of Sexual Abuse Lawsuits Have Finally Come.

In this Wednesday, Aug. 7, 2019 photo, Brian Toale shows a photo of himself at 16 years old in New York. Thousands of people who say they were molested as children in New York state will head to court this week to file lawsuits against their alleged abusers and the institutions where they worked. Toale, 66, who says he was molested by an employee at a Catholic high school he attended on Long Island, was one of the leaders in the fight to pass the Child Victims Act. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

THE CATHOLIC CHURCH, with strong backing from the insurance industry and the Boy Scouts of America, has been successful for years in blocking state legislation that would allow adults to bring lawsuits for sexual abuse they suffered as children. That wall of obstruction is now gradually being breached, and none too soon.

A law enacted this year in New York has unleashed a flood of lawsuits, many against the church and its institutions, as well as individual abusers, by survivors hoping for a measure of justice — and recognition — for traumas they suffered years or decades ago. On the day the Child Victims Act went into force, in mid-August, hundreds of suits were filed; hundreds or perhaps thousands more are expected in coming months.

The state’s former statute of limitations imposed draconian limits on civil lawsuits, which childhood victims were required to file before the age of 23. Now, for a one-year window, survivors of any age will be allowed to file civil lawsuits; after that, they will have until age 55.

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SOURCE: The Washington Post