ALBANY — With the state’s court system mostly closed, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said Friday he will extend the deadline for people to file claims against institutions under last year’s Child Victim Act until Jan. 14.
The five-month extension on the August 2020 deadline means that possible victims will have additional time to file claims against churches, youth organizations and other institutions that have been accused of covering up past child sexual abuse charges.
The act has already resulted in numerous cases being filed across the state against the Roman Catholic Church, Boy Scouts, and other organizations. The law allowed people who are now adults to make claims about sexual abuse suffered when they were children, even if the incidents occurred decades ago.
In the Capital Region, the most cases — dozens of them — have been filed in Albany County, where the Catholic Diocese has its headquarters. But no new cases have been recorded there since March 19, around the time the court system was closed.
Cuomo said he approved the extension “because people need access to the courts in order to make their claim.”
Victim advocates and some state legislators had called for the extension of the one-year filing window, which was set to expire Aug. 14.
“Many aspects of society have been closed down or are less operational during the pandemic, and the court system is among them,” Cuomo said. “Because of the reduction in court services due to the virus, we are extending the window for an additional five months until Jan. 14 to ensure survivors have the access to the courts that they need to file a claim and get the long-overdue justice they deserve.”
Child victim advocate Gary Greenberg thanked the governor for extending the deadline, but said more needs to be done.
“Child abuse and domestic violence are higher during ‘NY Pause'” he said. “We must continue to pass laws that help victims and stop predators from committing heinous crimes against our children.”