New York Child Victims Act to Protect Rights of Priest Sexual Abuse Victims

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If a member of the clergy abused you or someone you know, the New York Child Victims Act gives hope to survivors of sexual abuse. It’s not too late to share your story and to take action. The time is now.

If a priest, other clergy member or teacher in New York State sexually abused you as a child, we can help. Attorney Steve Boyd represents survivors of child sexual abuse. He is highly experienced in this area of law.

If you contact our law office, either by phone at 716-400-0000 or 585-600-2019 or by visiting our contact page, we will provide you with a confidential and safe intake process to discuss your potential claim.

Priest Sexual Abuse

Child sexual abuse is a horrendous crime. Sadly, clergy sexual abuse often happens to someone in need of spiritual and personal guidance. The predators are careful to choose a susceptible victim to groom. The victim may be a child who has lost a parent and is seeking spiritual guidance at a vulnerable time. Sometimes it is a kid living in poverty. Instead of being helped, these children had their trust betrayed by those in authority. Unfortunately, we are discovering that this type of sexual abuse by priests has been widespread.

If a member of the clergy sexually abused you, then you understand the moral mandate we all share to protect others from having to suffer the type of horror that you and other survivors of sexual abuse have already endured.

The Child Victims Act

new rights for child abuse victims

The Child Victims Act has changed the rules in favor of adults who were sexually abused as children. Under New York State’s former law, survivors of child sexual abuse could not press charges against an abuser after the survivor has turned 23 years of age. The Child Victims Act changes that.

The Child Victims Act increases the age limit up to age 55 in civil cases involving minors who were sexually abused. It also has opened a twelve-month window for all past victims of child sexual abuse, regardless of their age, to bring a lawsuit against an alleged perpetrator and the institution the perpetrator worked for.

If you were abused as a kid, your rights have changed. Even if you have been told in the past that you don’t have a legal claim for the abuse you suffered, the new law changes that. You may have an opportunity to hold the perpetrator and the institution that allowed the abuse accountable.

A very person approach to our clients.

Based on years of experience, we understand that you can help make a difference in your own life and the lives of others by taking action and contacting us confidentially. To preserve your rights, contact us as soon as possible.

While we cannot walk in your shoes, we can walk you through the process to ensure that you are heard. This process can help you regain the power that was taken from you as a child and put you on a journey towards getting help, healing, and justice.

By sharing your story, you can hold accountable the abuser and the people who allowed the abuse against you to occur. You may also be helping to ensure that this will never happen to another child in the future.

We Respect Your Confidentiality

We understand that confidentiality is the cornerstone of the attorney-client relationship. Trust and loyalty are essential elements of the relationship between an attorney and a client. This is especially true when the injury may be painful and embarrassing to discuss.

From your very first contact with Mr. Boyd, our firm will hold all you discuss with us in strict confidence. We will not share this information with anyone except when authorized by you.

Any information you provide us with is entirely private and confidential, and all details of your case will be handled with the utmost confidentiality and respect for your privacy.

Contact The Law Offices of Steve Boyd and John Elmore: New York Priest Sexual Abuse Lawyers

We understand why so many survivors of priest sexual abuse suffer in silence, secrecy, and shame. It is one reason why the abuse was so widespread and rampant. It was a perfect crime for the predators who believed their victims would never speak out against a priest or would be too embarrassed to discuss sexual contact. By some estimates, less than 20 percent of victims have come forward. With the passage of the Child Victims Act, the time for silence is over.

Attorney Steve Boyd is a Catholic lawyer, a former altar boy at St. Martin Parish in South Buffalo. His first job after graduating from Canisius College was with the Diocese of Buffalo where he started his television career.

Steve was the first New York journalist to uncover the priest abuse scandal in his home town in December of 1993. As a priest sexual abuse attorney, Steve is experienced in this area of law. He’ll ensure that your privacy is protected and will provide you with a safe and confidential consultation where you can share your story. Allow us to help you.

If you or someone you know is a victim of priest sexual abuse, contact Attorney Steve Boyd, at 716-400-0000 or 585-600-2019 or visit our contact page. We can help.


Silence. It has been a weapon that priests who have abused children have relied upon for decades. Victims have remained silent because in the 1960s, 70s and 80s children and their families were taught that they should never question the authority or actions of a Catholic priest. For decades many victims have stayed silent. In recent months, heroic victims have found their voice. The silence is coming to an end. Victims of child sexual abuse are now coming forward, and we are learning the vast extent of not just the abuse, but also the elaborate Catholic Church cover up that kept priests safe and children in danger.

For decades, Adults who were sexually abused as children by Catholic priests have been limited in their ability to seek justice. Historically, it may take decades before victims to speak about the horrible acts committed by pedophile priests. In the past, by the time they are ready to come forward, the time limit to bring a criminal or civil case against the abuser has passed

In Buffalo and Rochester, many priest sexual victims are beginning to ask difficult questions.

  • Can I still sue my abuser?
  • When did the Diocese know about the abuser and what did they do about it?
  • How can I navigate a changing legal landscape to get justice?

All of these questions are valid and there is no uniform answer. Today, promising changes to New York law have been made that makes it easier for survivors of abuse to get justice.


A statute of limitations is a law that limits the time to bring a case. One version of the Child Victims Act was proposed in the State Senate in January of 2017. It sought to eliminate all statutes of limitations for sexual abuse of children for one year after the bill was passed. In spite of bipartisan support, this bill was held in committee and never brought to a vote. After heavy lobbying by Catholic bishops, the New York Senate buried it.

Another version of the Child Victims Act was proposed in February of 2018 and passed in the New York State Assembly in May of 2018. That bill would have extended the statute of limitations until a survivor reached the age of 50. It passed in the State Assembly but never got out of committee in the State Senate. The bishops won again.


Despite heavy lobbying by Catholic bishops, a new version of the Child Victims Act passed in 2019. The State of New York now stands with the thousands of New Yorkers who were abused and is giving them their day in court. It’s a right guaranteed by the Seventh Amendment of the United States Constitution.

Proving sexual abuse from decades ago can be challenging. But the priest sexual abuse attorneys at our firm have done it. We use witness testimony, counseling records, accounts of other victims and admissions by the church to prove our case.

As a TV news journalist in the 1990s I broke the first stories of priest sexual abuse against children within the Diocese of Buffalo. Back then, my job was to tell the victim’s story. It’s the same today. If you or someone you love was sexually abused by a priest as a child, you can contact us confidentially to discuss your case. The consultation is free. You can begin by filling our contact form or call us at 716-400-0000 or 585-600-2019. I would be happy to personally discuss your legal options and move on from there.