New York opened a "window to the past" on Wednesday that allows victims of child sexual abuse to sue their rapists, a milestone in the defense of minors that puts the Catholic Church in check, which has already received hundreds of complaints, and even the late millionaire Epstein.
The New York State Child Victims Law, passed in January, entered into force on Wednesday and allows, within a year, victims of sexual abuse who at the time could not report it now, in addition to extending the deadlines of prescription of these crimes.
Now, the alleged victims are up to 55 years of age to start a civil proceeding, while the age of 23 to 28 has been delayed for the possibility of opening a criminal proceeding.
This requirement will not apply during this margin year for survivors of abuse to file their lawsuits, which on its first day has already generated a flood of hundreds of complaints filed in New York courts, although thousands are expected.
"I have already filed a complaint, I did it at midnight last night. It is the first opportunity we have had to obtain real justice. And I say it for myself and many survivors," explains Stephen Jiménez, victim of abuse, in an interview with Efe since he was 10 until 14, he is now 66.
"Make the account. It has taken me 52 years for me to go to court," says this journalist of Spanish descent.
"My abuses were a relationship. I had a sexual relationship with a Catholic brother who started when I was 10 years old. He is someone who took me to the beach, to the pool … I was in gay bath houses, in saunas, in changing rooms , in showers … with this man when he was 11, 12, 13 years old, "he details, in his case, specifically a professor at his religious school who was 50 years old at the time.
His case is not the only one and the complaints are already counted by hundreds, taking advantage of the "window to the past" that opens this law. A single law firm, Jeff Anderson & Associates, has filed 262 lawsuits throughout the state of New York.
"Today is a new day, it is a day of hope," said Jeff Anderson, the lawyer who names the firm, franked by two of the victims whom his office represents at a press conference.
Anderson has been a combative lawyer against the Catholic Church for his abuses and has published several reports with hundreds of names and even photographs of pastors and clergy members.
The Archdiocese of New York has been preparing for this avalanche of legal proceedings for some time: at the beginning of last month, the institution itself sued about thirty insurers to pay the costs derived from these complaints, anticipating a possible rejection of these companies to be made charge of them.
Not only in the Catholic Church have these cases excelled: they have also occurred in Yeshivas – Jewish schools -, in the Boy Scouts or with private individuals such as the ill-fated millionaire Jeffrey Epstein, who died last Saturday in his New York cell, where he was accused by sex trafficking of minors.
Jennifer Araoz, 32, who had recently accused Epstein of raping her when she was a minor, also sued the employer's property today, as well as one of her partners and three of her employees.
In an opinion column in The New York Times, the woman recounted her experience, which she exhibited a month ago in local media, and said she has sued "Jeffrey Epstein's estate and his accomplices" thanks to the new Law on Child Victims approved in the state of New York.
"A key measure of the law enters into force today and allows survivors to recover allegations if the statute of limitations has expired," he says in reference to the one-year period that opens the rule so that victims of child sexual abuse can sue their abusers, even if the facts have prescribed.
As explained in an interview with Efe, the executive director of Child USAdvocacy, Kathryn Robb, this "window to the past" is of vital importance since "it allows these survivors of sexual abuse to identify their sexual predators. When you identify them, you make them New York children are safer. "
Robb, who suffered abuse from a relative when she was a child and now runs an organization that fights for the defense of children's rights, certifies that this is a "national movement in which people are saying: enough. Zero. tolerance".
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