The Adult Survivors Act (ASA), a New York law that temporarily suspended the statute of limitations for filing sexual assault lawsuits, is set to expire after Thanksgiving.
Since its enactment, the ASA has led to over 2,500 lawsuits, including against prominent figures like former President Donald Trump, Sean “Diddy” Combs, and Russell Brand. The law, which has been in effect for a year, has enabled survivors of sexual misconduct to pursue legal action that was previously barred due to time constraints.
The majority of the lawsuits filed under the ASA have been against the state, New York City, and local counties, primarily involving allegations of abuse in state prisons and local jail systems. This surge in legal claims represents a significant opportunity for survivors, like Alexandria Johnson, to seek justice. Johnson, who reported being sexually abused multiple times while incarcerated, expressed the importance of this law in giving voice to many who previously felt unheard. The ASA has also led to lawsuits against various employers and institutions, accusing them of failing to prevent abuse by their employees.
As the ASA nears its expiration, New York’s decision to temporarily lift limitations on civil legal claims stemming from sexual assaults is seen as a milestone, especially for adults traumatized by such experiences. The law has opened avenues for accountability against powerful individuals and institutions. While high-profile cases have garnered attention, many more lawsuits involve lesser-known perpetrators, highlighting widespread issues of sexual abuse in everyday settings and institutions. The end of the ASA will again bar individuals from suing over past abuses, making the current window a critical period for survivors seeking legal redress.
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