Brendan Keany

Look-back Window for Child Victims Act Opens Wednesday

NYC Law Firm says over 100 complaints to be filed on behalf of EC residents

August 13, 2019 - 1:06 pm

BUFFALO (WBEN - Brendan Keany) - On Tuesday morning, representatives from Weitz & Luxenberg, a law firm from New York City, stood in front of the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo to announce their plans to file more than 100 cases in Erie County when the one-year look-back window under the Child Victims Act opens on Wednesday.

"Historically, when we think in the context of child sexual abuse, we think of church cases," said Samantha Breakstone, an associate attorney for Weitz & Luxenberg. "Those are predominantly the cases that have covered by the media and those cases that have been on the tip of our tongue, but honestly, with the window coming and opening, we're starting to really see how many of these cases are even closer to our doorstep."

The complaints will be filed starting Wednesday, but will mostly be spread out through the coming days and weeks of the look-back window against churches, schools and other various organizations.

"Tomorrow is just the first day in a long year of filing these cases," said Breakstone. "We have clients who are filing that are 24, who are the youngest possible under the window, and we have clients who are as old as 93. So, these are people who really have been anxiously awaiting their moment to talk about exactly what happened to them, and truth be told, they've waited too long."

Two cases will be filed on Wednesday in Erie County, and there will be several others in various parts of Western New York.

"Historically, you had to bring the cases by the time you turned 23; for most victims, for most people who've endured this, the effects aren't even realized at 23 - most people can't event talk about what happened to them at 23," she said. "For many of our clients, they didn't start to realize the true effects of this until their 30's and into the middle ages. The majority of our clients are between the ages of 40 and 60, and they're honestly struggling with things that happen to them as young as 5 years old."

In addition to the more than 100 cases being filed in Erie County, Weitz & Luxenberg represent over 1,200 survivors of sex abuse across the state, including 130 in Western New York.

Listen to the full press conference below:

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