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As NY's Adult Survivors Act set to expire on Thanksgiving, lawyers say one-year window to bring sex abuse claims 'way too short'

Molly Crane-Newman, New York Daily News on

Published in News & Features

“The amount of cases we’ve gotten is staggering,” Lamonsoff said. “This window is too short, it’s just way too short. If these people are storming to us now, especially at the end, that means that many are going to be left outside that window when it closes.”

Lamonsoff said many of the women and men he’s connected with are incredulous to learn they have a chance at succeeding in court after years of believing nobody would care.

“There’s so many things mitigating against them coming forward, especially ex-prisoners,” he said. “What these lawsuits do for the survivors of sexual assault is so therapeutic. … We see the growth, the psychological growth of somebody who’s so downtrodden — who’s hidden this for 20, 30 years, whose whole psychology has changed, whose feeling of helplessness has all of a sudden changed to empowerment.”

Crumiller said she’s talking with state Sen. Brad Hoylman-Sigal’s office about efforts to reopen the revival window next spring.

“It’s something, certainly, my colleagues and I will be examining once we get the data,” Hoylman-Sigal, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said. “Whether it’s temporary or permanent, there’s no question that we should be, as a state legislature, standing on the side of sexual abuse survivors.”

Assemblymember Linda Rosenthal, who co-sponsored the legislation with Hoylman and the Child Victims Act, said she is conferring with advocates to find opportunities for people who weren’t ready to bring claims within the look-back period.

“Whether one’s abuser was a former U.S. president, a prominent gynecologist or a relative, this law has provided hope and a pathway to justice to many,” Rosenthal said.


“Antiquated statutes and artificial deadlines make it even more difficult for people grappling with the emotional toll of sexual trauma to seek justice, and we must continue amplifying the voices and addressing the concerns of those who have been silenced.”

Hoechstetter wouldn’t see her abuser face justice for more than a decade after he sexually assaulted her when she sought care at Columbia during her pregnancy. She said fighting to get the Adult Survivors Act passed was a means to regain control.

“It was one of those things where I felt like I had hit so many roadblocks and false promises, and I really felt like I had to take it into my own hands. I very tangibly knew a few hundred Hadden survivors who didn’t have a path to justice. … It’s heartbreaking when people get the courage to come forward, and then there’s nothing you can do for them,” she said.

“For me, once I told the truth, it was out there, and then I had the power to do with it what I wanted. And they can’t take that away from me.”


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