“The defendant is not the first litigant to make this argument, which has been rejected by every state and federal court in New York for having encountered it,” the federal judge wrote in the 46-page ruling. “And it’s been repeatedly rejected for good reason.”
“I see this decision as very important, as another step in terms of real recognition of the right of survivors to really take their case to court,” said Liz Roberts, CEO of Safe Horizon, which has advocated for the law for decades. years.
The idea behind the Child Victims Act was that many victims of child sexual abuse take years to speak publicly about their trauma, and this Act would give them the opportunity to finally have their day in court.
“For many survivors, this feels like a chance to have some sort of public social acknowledgment of the terrible abuse they have suffered, to confront the person who harmed them, or the institution, and to really say the truth about what happened to them, and in some cases to receive compensation for what they suffered,” Roberts said.
The look-back window opened in August 2019 and closed in August 2021. More than 10,600 child sexual abuse lawsuits were filed in New York during this period, according to the courts spokesperson of New York, Lucian Chalfen.
Prince Andrew has denied the allegations. He can always choose to appeal the decision.
Why the judge upheld the Child Victims Act
In his ruling Wednesday, Kaplan cited a handful of cases in which judges had rejected that constitutional argument. He described the Child Victims Act’s retrospective window as a “reasonable step to remedy an injustice and well within the bounds of the new legal standard articulated shortly before it was passed”.
Barry Salzman, a lawyer who has represented pro bono sex abuse survivors in cases against the clergy and Epstein, said such look-back windows, also known as statute of limitations revival laws, have long been around. were considered constitutional. The prince’s argument against the law will fail, he told CNN.
“Honestly, I don’t think that’s a very strong argument and I don’t think it will ever be overturned,” he said.
Salzman welcomed the judge’s decision and said he was happy to see the case move forward.
“As a lawyer who has defended victims for so many years, I’m really happy to see legislation like the CVA that has really empowered all of these survivors to have their day in court,” he said. he declares. “I think it really speaks to a greater openness or acceptance in our society to believe these people.”
Roberts also said Safe Horizon had advocated for the law for a decade, and lawyers had closely crafted the law’s language. She said the argument that the defendants would lose due process was “specious”.
“All the law does is give them the opportunity to go to court. They still have to prove their case,” she said. “The defendant has access to all the usual protections in court as a defendant in a lawsuit.”
CNN’s Sonia Moghe and Emanuella Grinberg contributed to this report.