Sexual abuse lawsuits to be filed in NY, including by Trump rape accusers

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A “flurry” of sexual abuse allegations is expected to be filed Thursday when New York’s Adult Survivors Act goes into effect — among others. a lawsuit from author E. Jean Carroll accuses former President Donald Trump of rape.

The law, signed by Governor Kathy Hochul on May 24 allows adult survivors of sexual abuse to file suit — even if their claims are outside the statute of limitations — during a one-year “lookback window” that opens at midnight Thanksgiving Day.

“The opening of the ASA is a small correction in the statute of limitations that always favored the powerful and the predators,” said attorney Carrie Goldberg, who will handle at least a few dozen of the cases.

Goldberg — who is partnered in the cases with attorney Susan Crumiller, a close friend and fellow sexual abuse survivor — said the Thanksgiving window is “apropos” for victims who are grateful to be able to seek justice in court.

“This law is the debt owed to the victims,” ​​she said.

Attorneys for Elle magazine columnist E. Jean Carroll said last week that they will file a battery charge against 76-year-old Trump on Thursday under the new law. The lawsuit alleges that Trump raped Carroll in a Bergdorf Goodman prop room in the early 1990s.

Carroll already has a civil claim pending against Trump in federal court in Manhattan for allegedly defaming her, calling her a liar and saying her accusations were “a complete sham.”

But with the ASA she will now be able to sue the ex-president for the alleged attack specifically, increasing the amount of legal action he is currently involved in.

The law reflects 2019 New York Child Victims Act which also opened a window for survivors of childhood abuse to sue their abusers—or the institutions that protected them—regardless of when the abuse occurred.

Former President Donald Trump delivers a speech.
Carroll claims Trump raped her in a Bergdorf Goodman fitting room in the 1990s.
AP

Almost 11,000 cases were filed across the country under the CVA when the window came closed in August 2021 – including against the Boy Scouts of America, the pedophile financier Jeffrey Epstein and the Catholic Church.

Under the ASA, hundreds of lawsuits are expected to be filed on behalf of female inmates who claim they were sexually abused while in state prisons and jails, according to attorneys Adam Slater and Ben Crump — who said they handles over 750 of these cases.

The claims could cost the state millions since there is no limit on how much it must pay to victims, according to Senator Brad Hoylman – one of the sponsors of the ASA bill.

There was also no ceiling on how much the state could pay under the CVA, where there were countless cases was brought against public schools due to teachers and staff being accused of abusing children.

Goldberg’s partner Susan Crumiller said “it’s crazy” how few adult victims know about the ASA – noting that many of the cases are from clients the couple previously had to turn away because of the statute of limitations.

The legal duo’s ASA cases include cases from alleged victims of disgraced producer Harvey Weinstein and from models who claim they have been sexually abused in the fashion industry.

Attorney Adam Slater, alleged victim and former prisoner Sadie Bell and attorney Ben Crump speak at the press conference.
Sadie Bell said she plans to sue after she was allegedly sexually abused by a prison guard.

“The more we change the culture and become educated about the dynamics of sex abuse and the dynamics of consent, and we stop shaming the victims — I think more and more people will come forward,” Crumiller said.

One of their 41-year-old clients told The Post how 10 years ago she was the target of a “serial harasser and assailant” – a partner at a prestigious law firm who still practices today. When she rejected him, the partner allegedly fired her.

“It killed me to know there was no justice, no punishment,” the woman said. “This was not even a blip in his life.

“I was never going to be able to get any kind of compensation and I had kind of conditioned myself to live with that,” she added, “And it’s very empowering to come back to this with renewed support from the law.”

It’s unclear whether the woman will be among those to file a lawsuit Thursday, as the company she was fired from has rushed to reach a settlement first, Crumiller said.

Jordan Merson, who reprized Epstein victims under the CVA, said he will deal with over ten ASA cases. He said the law was an important “opportunity” for adult survivors of abuse.

“The courthouse doors were closed to them for far too long,” Merson said. “The statute of limitations for these cases used to be a year … It wasn’t fair.”

A Times Square sign that says "If you were sexually abused, like us, even if it was a long time ago, you can now seek justice through the courts."
Adult victims can now sue in New York within a year, even if their claims are outside the statute of limitations.
AP

Merson highlighted a big difference in cases filed under the CVA and the ASA cases, in that in cases of child sexual abuse, lack of consent is a legal given, while in adult cases you have to prove lack of consent.

Crumiller also acknowledged that ASA proceedings will depend on consent.

“Everyone is always afraid to bring these [adult] cases forward because it’s he said, she said,” she noted, adding, “We don’t see that as a barrier.”

Lawyers were divided on how many ASA cases will be filed in New York.

Attorney Lisa Coppola — who guesses she will handle dozens of ASA cases — said since the age range is so much larger for adults than children, “In terms of the sheer number, I expect we will see many, many more claims. “

Carrie Goldberg, a sex crimes attorney, wears a jacket embroidered with "Sue stalkers, pervs, trolls and techies" at a press conference on the Survivors' Act on Friday 18 November 2022
Carrie Goldberg, a sex crimes attorney, wears a jacket embroidered with “Sues for stalkers, pervs, trolls and technology” at a press conference on the Adult Survivors Act on November 18, 2022.
AP

But attorney Cynthia LaFave — who says she wants dozens of ASA cases — believes there will be far fewer, since adults are more likely to report abuse to law enforcement, while children often don’t come forward because of “coercion ” secrecy and fear.

LaFave said the ASA is “necessary” to bring about societal change.

Lucian Chalfen, a spokesman for the state court system, said New York’s court system is prepared to handle the ASA cases, no matter how many are filed.

“While we expect a flurry of applications initially, we are prepared and will get the cases assigned to judges without any delay,” Chalfen said in a statement.

“While there was much talk of a flood of Child Victims Act cases, it never materialized with just under 11,000 filed during the two-year window,” Chalfen said. “If the Adult Survivors Act generates a volume of applications, we will adjust accordingly.”

Hoylman — who co-sponsored the bill with Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal — said, “It’s fitting that the window for the Adult Survivors Act opens on Thanksgiving Day.

“The public owes survivors of sexual abuse a debt of gratitude for having the courage to file claims and making our communities safer by identifying predators and the institutions that may have harbored them,” he said.

Rosenthal added: “The laws have long protected addicts and the institutions that housed them; the ASA will change on November 24, 2022.”

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