Helping Sexual Assault Victims of New York’s Prisons Get Justice & Closure
The Adult Survivors Act is a law that takes effect on Nov. 24, 2022. It allows people to sue over years-old sexual assaults that occurred in New York’s Prisons and Correctional Facilities – long past the old criminal statute of limitations.
Current or former prisoners of the State of New York
Current or former workers or subordinates at New York State Facilities
Watch: Governor Kathy Hochul - Senate Bill S66 into law
Better known as the Adult Survivors Act, Bill S66 will create a one year window allowing the revival of otherwise time-barred civil claims arising out of sexual offenses committed against people who were 18 or older at the time of the conduct.
The Adult Survivors Act lookback window begins on November 24, 2022. Survivors have one year thereafter to file, even on offenses committed decades ago. Our Sexual Assault Lawyers In New York Are Ready To Help You.
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Founder Jordan Merson of Merson Law has built a stellar reputation representing sexual assault clients.
The sexual assault lawyers at Merson Law have extensive experience litigating sexual assault cases valued in excess of $1 million and much of their background includes prosecuting cases that have resolved for more than $10 million.
Here are some of the sexual assault cases litigated by Jordan Merson of Merson Law and his team of sexual assault lawyers*:
$500 million – Merson Law represents sexual assault survivors in the Michigan State University fund for victims of Larry Nassar. This is the largest amount of money in history settled by a university for a sexual abuse case.
$100 million + – Merson represents a number of victims of child sex abuse in the Independent Reconciliation Compensation Program (IRCP). $100 million has been set aside for the IRCP.
$8 million settlement for race discrimination and sexual harassment
$5 million for sexual harassment victim
*Please note that past results do not guarantee similar outcome
Mr. Merson was named in Super Lawyers and has been quoted by the national and local media, including USA Today, the New York Law Journal and the Daily News. When New York Magazine published its top verdicts in 2014, Mr. Merson was included on that list, as well.
Background and Summary: Adult Survivors Act
The Passing of The Adult Survivors Act (Bill S66)
On June 3, 2021, the New York Senate passed Senate Bill S66 – the Adult Survivors Act (ASA).
The Adult Survivors Act builds on precedent set by the New York Child Victims Act, which allowed thousands of victims of sexual assault to seek justice.
Among other changes to sexual assault law, the Child Victims Act created a one year “look-back” window (later extended to two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic).
During this time, survivors of sexual assault can bring charges against their assailants even if the statute of limitations have already run out. The Adult Survivors Act will create a similar one year window for survivors of adult sexual assault.
How does this help?
The Adult Survivors Act temporarily removes what is known as the “statute of limitations” for suing perpetrators of sexual assault.
The statute of limitations, called the prescriptive period in civil law, is the maximum time after an event within which legal proceedings may be initiated.
Currently in New York, survivors of sexual assault have 20 years to bring forward a civil case against their assailant. This means that someone who was abused more than 20 years ago cannot sue their assailant.
For one year, starting three months after the passing of the Adult Survivors Act, the prescriptive period for adult sexual assault cases will be removed, opening the door for any victim to seek justice, no matter when abuse occurred.
Sexually assaulted more than 20 years ago in New York?
If you were, now is your chance to seek justice.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Brad Hoylman, who sponsored the Adult Survivors Act, explains why this bill is necessary:
“Adult survivors of serial sexual assaulters like Harvey Weinstein, Jeffrey Epstein and former OB-GYN Robert Hadden have been shut out of our courthouses by inadequate statutes of limitations. That ends now. In 2019 we passed the Child Victims Act, which has helped more than 6,000 sexual assault survivors seek justice. The Adult Survivors Act extends that exact same opportunity to thousands more survivors, letting them hold their predators accountable in court. For far too long our justice system has failed survivors of sexual assault, the passage of the Adult Survivors act is a powerful step to fix that historic wrong. I’m grateful for Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins’ unflappable commitment to seek justice for survivors of sexual assault, and for the leadership and persistence of Assembly Member Linda Rosenthal and so many incredible survivor-advocates.”
Who sponsored the Adult Survivors Act?
Bill S66 was sponsored by Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Brad Hoylman (D. WF).
Co-sponsors of the Adult Survivors Act include:
Jamaal T. Bailey – (D) 36th Senate District
Brian A. Benjamin – (D) 30th Senate District
Alessandra Biaggi – (D, WF) 34th Senate District
John E. Brooks – (D) 8th Senate District
James Gaughran – (D) 5th Senate District
Michael Gianaris – (D, WF) 12th Senate District
Andrew Gounardes – (D) 22nd Senate District
Pete Harckham – (D, WF) 40th Senate District
Michelle Hinchey – (D, WF) 46th Senate District
Robert Jackson – (D, WF) 31st Senate District
Anna M. Kaplan – (D, IP, WF) 7th Senate District
Timothy M. Kennedy – (D, IP, WF) 63rd Senate District
Liz Krueger – (D, WF) 28th Senate District
John C. Liu – (D) 11th Senate District
Rachel May – (D, WF) 53rd Senate District
Zellnor Myrie – (D) 20th Senate District
Jessica Ramos – (D, WF) 13th Senate District
Elijah Reichlin-Melnick – (D, WF) 38th Senate District
Gustavo Rivera – (D, WF) 33rd Senate District
Julia Salazar – (D, WF) 18th Senate District
James Skoufis – (D) 39th Senate District
Toby Ann Stavisky – (D) 16th Senate District
When will the Adult Survivors Act become law?
In order for the act to become a law, it must first pass in the Senate and the Assembly. Then, it is sent to the governor to be signed or vetoed.
New York State Senate: The official government website of the New York State Senate, with information on the Adult Survivors Act
What Constitutes Sexual Assault?
New York State Penal Law Section 130.95: Predatory sexual assault
Penal (PEN) – Penal Code
A person is guilty of predatory sexual assault when he or she commits the crime of rape in the first degree, criminal sexual act in the first degree, aggravated sexual abuse in the first degree, or course of sexual conduct against a child in the first degree, as defined in this article, and when:
1. In the course of the commission of the crime or the immediate flight therefrom, he or she:
(a) Causes serious physical injury to the victim of such crime; or
(b) Uses or threatens the immediate use of a dangerous instrument; or
2. He or she has engaged in conduct constituting the crime of rape in the first degree, criminal sexual act in the first degree, aggravated sexual abuse in the first degree, or course of sexual conduct against a child in the first degree, as defined in this article, against one or more additional persons; or
3. He or she has previously been subjected to a conviction for a felony defined in this article, incest as defined in section 255.25 of this chapter or use of a child in a sexual performance as defined in section 263.05 of this chapter.
Predatory sexual assault is a class A-II felony.
A person is guilty of sexual abuse in the first degree when he or she subjects another person to sexual contact:
1. By forcible compulsion; or
2. When the other person is incapable of consent by reason of being physically helpless; or
3. When the other person is less than eleven years old; or
4. When the other person is less than thirteen years old and the actor is twenty-one years old or older.
Sexual abuse in the first degree is a class D felony.