New laws open door to decades-old child sex abuse cases – CBS News

When sex abuse victim Jim Keenan filed his first lawsuit 13 years ago, he thought his was “a lone case.” But after settling with the Catholic Archdiocese of St. Paul, Minnesota, in 2018, he became the leader of a small army as chairman of a group of 440 sexual abuse victims within that diocese. It paid him, along with other former children who had been molested by clergy, a total of $210 million.

Yet that settlement may pale in size compared to potential payouts in New York, New Jersey and 15 other states around the country that have passed, or are considering, what are called Child Victims Acts (CVAs). These laws allow adults like Keenan, now 52, to sue churches, the Boy Scouts and other organizations that may have ignored, or covered up, cases of sexual abuse. The rationale for CVAs: Children may not be aware of what constitutes sexual abuse, or even that they were molested, and they deserve legal recourse as adults.

New laws open door to decades-old child sex abuse cases – CBS News

Without special new laws created like this, the statute of limitations is five years in most states.