NY: Hundreds of New York Women Are About to Sue Alleged Rapists (and Enablers) Under a Revolutionary New Law

Source: motherjones.com 11/23/22

For years, former president Donald Trump has been able to push off a lawsuit filed against him by E. Jean Carroll, a writer and advice columnist who says he raped her in a department store dressing room in the mid-1990s. When Carroll decided to come forward—describing the alleged assault in a book excerpt in 2019—Trump had been president for two years, and the statute of limitations to bring criminal charges or a lawsuit against him had long since passed. Carroll sued Trump for defamation instead, arguing that he’d smeared her in statements to reporters in which he denied he knew her, accused her of fabricating her story to sell books, and insulted her appearance—and has spent years tied up in court, fending off interference from the Justice Department and endless bids for delay. 

Now, Carroll and thousands of other sexual assault survivors in New York state are getting a new chance to seek legal accountability against people who harmed them years or decades ago. Under the Adult Survivors Act, New Yorkers who were sexually assaulted as adults but who have run out of time to seek accountability in court will have a one-year “lookback window” to sue their abusers, as well as institutions that were negligent in responding to the assault. While many states have experimented with lookback windows to allow child sexual abuse victim to bring civil claims, the New York law marks only the second time such a grace period has been extended to people who were adults at the time of the assault. (New Jersey was the first.) In a way, the new law is an acknowledgement of the many barriers—ongoing trauma, shame, and fear of retaliation, not to mention ineffective policing—that have prevented survivors from pursuing justice in court. “The fight against sexual assault requires us to recognize the impact of trauma within our justice system,” Gov. Kathy Hochul said when signing the bill.  

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I foresee many men getting caught up in something they didn’t do. And have to spend a lot of money to prove their innocence without any evidence against them other than a person’s words.

Luckily I didn’t do shit but work when I was there.

I know this is effectively a civil case where ex-post doesn’t apply but cases such as these are a good time to attempt to get SCOTUS to either overturn or at least narrow Calder v. Bull.

Generally speaking, retroactive civil laws have been sparingly used probably so that Calder doesn’t get challenged. Left unchecked though in my opinion Calder is terrible precedent because government can effectively retroactively do anything they want if they call it civil. They can in-effect (re)criminalize anything by making anything that might not even have been criminal at the time civil in nature by allowing someone to sue for damages. They can even decide to raise taxes for a previous tax year retroactively whenever they want. Imagine letting students sue schools for emotional or physical damages from corporal punishment they received prior to bans (bans which mostly happened in the 80s) with a look back window? It’s civil so why not right? The broad reaching potential effect of Calder just doesn’t make any sense and probably would not be tolerated for everything the ruling could do.

I don’t agree with Justice Thomas very often, but Justice Thomas has indicated that Calder needs to be revisited and I could not agree more with that view even if there wasn’t a retroactive registry.

Good I hope this law adds another 100.000 people to the registry, I hope they keep flooding it until every man, woman and child has a relative on Megan’s law