A woman who says she was sexually assaulted 25 years ago by a prison guard can sue under a new law.

A prison guard walked into the women’s ward of the now-closed Bayview Correctional Facility in Manhattan and tapped BV, who was sleeping in a bunk bed, on the shoulder.

“I want you to go clean the bathroom.” Tell her, according to the B.V. About the exchange in 1997.

I asked B.V. asked if she could do it in the morning, but the watchman insisted. So she went to the bathroom, got down on her knees, and started flushing the toilet. A few moments later, the guard entered the bathroom, unzipped it, and forced B.F. over oral sex, she said in an interview with Insider, 25 years after the alleged assault.

“I was vomiting and I was crying,” BV said. She said she considered screaming to wake the other women up, but didn’t.

Now, for the first time since the assault, she is preparing to hold her alleged attacker to account.

New York’s Adult Survivors Act gives women a one-year window from Thursday to file a complaint against an alleged attacker and other parties responsible for incidents of sexual assault committed at any time in their adult lives, beginning at age 18, within the state of New York. York.

One of the high-profile lawsuits expected under the new law is against former President Donald Trump.

An attorney representing former Elle columnist E.Jan Carroll said she plans to sue Trump for battery and willful infliction of emotional distress under the ASA.

Carroll accused Trump in 2019 of sexually assaulting her in her locker room in the mid-1990s, but so far he has only brought a lawsuit for defamation based on his response to her allegations.

Claims like Carroll’s are usually barred because they fall outside the statute of limitations, which was raised in New York in 2019 to 20 years for civil lawsuits involving certain sexual offenses. This barrier will now be temporarily lifted, and there is no maximum damage limit.

B.V., who asked to be identified by her initials for privacy reasons, never reported her sexual assault, she said, because she was traumatized and didn’t think she had any options.

The guard who she said sexually abused her at the time told her that if she told anyone, he would take away her weekend privileges, allowing her to leave the facility to visit her family.

Anna Cole, a partner at Levy Konigsberg who represents B.V. “Most women just want to move on with their lives. That’s why it’s important to have a longer statute of limitations, because by the time a sexual assault survivor is ready to face up to what happened to her and ready to bring it to the attention of the legal system and start legal action, it may It would be too late.”

No institution is safe

Cole said she expects hundreds of women previously imprisoned under the new law to come forward.

Every year from 2015 to 2019, there were hundreds of reports of alleged sexual misconduct or abuse within the New York Department of Corrections and Community Oversight Facilities, according to data published by the agency.

“You really wouldn’t believe how many women have been sexually assaulted within the New York State prison system,” Cole said.

But, she added, her company is also anticipating cases against medical providers, institutions and individual doctors. Lawrence Pearson, partner at Wigdor LLP, told of some of the lawsuits he expects to be filed against teachers, educational institutions, hospitals and religious centers.

“These cases not only name and hold accountable at all individuals who have engaged in sexual assault or other sexually offensive behaviour, but they also identify organizations, whether employers or other organizations that have enabled or given cover to the men in general who have engaged in sexual abuse,” Pearson said.

In a statement, DOCCS said it “has zero tolerance for sexual assault, sexual harassment, and unauthorized relationships” and “thoroughly investigates all reports of sexual abuse.”

New York State Corrections Officers and the Police Benevolent Association, the organization that represents security services personnel across the state, declined to comment.

limited window

The one-year window under the ASA means there is a limited period for filing lawsuits.

A similar law, the Child Victims Act, was passed in 2019 and allows survivors of child sexual abuse in New York for one year to file claims that would otherwise have exceeded the statute of limitations.

Then-gov. Andrew Cuomo extended the window for another year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, allowing for thousands more lawsuits. Approximately 11,000 lawsuits were filed during the two-year period that the Child Victims Act was in effect.

Pearson said the CVA may give an idea of ​​how many lawsuits will be filed in response to the ASA this year.

“Under the ASA Adult Survivors Act, which includes people who were not minors when they were abused or sexually assaulted, obviously you’re talking about a lot more potential plaintiffs, people who have been assaulted or abused,” he said. “Thus, it is very likely that the amount of claims [will be] double what the Child Victims Act has been, even over a two-year period, in the year the review period under the ASA continues.”

Imani’s Safehouse, a New York-based organization that supports women prisoners, educates sexual assault survivors about ASA.

The founder told Jennifer Fico that some women said they did not remember the name of their abuser or expressed reluctance to relive the trauma of the abuse they had experienced. Fico said others did not believe the ASA really existed.

“I don’t care how many cases any company has – it’s a small percentage of the actual number of women who are sexually assaulted,” Cole said.

However, the ASA still offers some hope to many, including B.V.

“I can’t believe they’re actually trying to show respect for the things that happened to us,” BV said.

If you are a sexual assault survivor, you can call the National Sexual Assault Hotline (1-800-656-4673) or visit their website for confidential support.

If you are a sexual assault survivor, you can call the National Sexual Assault Hotline (1-800-656-4673) or visit their website for confidential support.


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