A law firm in New York on Wednesday filed more than 250 complaints of sexual abuse of minors against the Church, once the so-called "window to the past" that allows victims to sue for these crimes even if they have prescribed entered into force.
The law firm Jeff Anderson & Associates made public the 262 cases throughout the state of New York in a press conference, where the lawyer who gives name to the firm, Jeff Anderson, insisted that "it was time" to do something against the abusers and that the victims face those who took advantage of them.
"Today is a new day, it is a day of hope," said Anderson, franked by two of the victims his office represents, as well as several of the lawyers who have worked with him in this case.
"Why have survivors been able to do this (file lawsuits) and why can we be here with them in New York today? Because the law on child victims has come into force," he said, criticizing the opposition of the Catholic Church and the expense of "millions of dollars" so that these cases do not come to light.
This law, passed in January and which goes into effect on Wednesday, includes a "window to the past" of one year, until August 14, 2020, which allows those who could not sue their abusers before to do so now.
In addition, the text allows the alleged victims of abuse to open a civil process until the age of 55 and file criminal charges until age 28, compared to 23 allowed by the previous law.
One of the survivors, Bridie Farrell, spoke during the press conference, ensuring that her struggle for this law to move forward has allowed her to meet people who were abused and were not aware of it.
"I have met so many people, especially in their 60s or 70s, wondering about my case and telling me 'this is what happened to me in the bathroom of a gas station. Was I abused as a child?'" The woman explained, 37, also a plaintiff for abuse suffered between 1997 and 1998.
"Today, survivors like me throughout New York can file a lawsuit for our abusers to take responsibility for what they did and also for any institution that would allow that to happen," he said.
Another of the victims present, Joseph Caramanno, abused by Monsignor John Paddack, said that today is a "day of light", in contrast to the darkness in which he lived "when he was 16-17 years old."
"A year ago I never thought I would be in the situation I am now," he said.
Of the cases presented, 54 are against the archdiocese of the city in Manhattan, 36 in Brooklyn and 19 in Rockville, a total of 109 only in the lower part of the state.
Another 84 lawsuits were filed in Buffalo, 30 in Rochester, 19 in Albany, 14 in Odgensburg and 6 in Syracuse.
In total, 162 are the names of the alleged perpetrators of the abuses, many of them produced in churches, but also in day centers or religious hospitals.
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