Bill would grant adult sex abuse survivors a window to have their day in court

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A new bill that's working its way through the state would grant adult survivors of sexual abuse a one-year window to have their day in court.

The Adult Survivors Act is similar to the Child Victims Act, which granted a look-back window for victims to sue their alleged offenders. However, the Adult Survivors Act would be for survivors of abuse that occurred when they were 18 years or older.

Survivors of Jeffery Epstein's alleged crimes as adults would be among those who could use the act as a legal path to justice.

Epstein's alleged underage victims have already been able to file suits under the Child Victims Act. Those who were 18 or older, however, have a harder time to find remedy.

The bill would also enact rules for timely decisions of revived claims to make sure legal proceedings don't drag on and cases don't make it to the backlogs.

Advocates for survivors of domestic violence say this bill would be monumental.

"Victims often are unable to pursue justice against their abusers due to the trauma they have experienced,” says Carlla Horton, of Hope’s Door. "This proposed legislation would allow those who had time to heal from their trauma, the opportunity to seek justice.”

State Sen. David Carlucci is sponsoring the Adult Survivors Act in New York.

"This law says that we believe you, we want you to come forward and we want to make sure that justice prevails,” says Carlucci.

The bill is proposed by state Sen. Brad Hoylman, who successfully passed the Child Victims Act through the state Legislature earlier this year.

The bill is currently in committee and once the legislative session picks up on Jan. 8, lawmakers say they hope to move the bill through the legislative process early and quickly.

The proposed bill would begin six months after it is signed into law.

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