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New child victims act case filed

A new court filing alleging child sexual abuse has been filed in state Supreme Court in Chautauqua county as the window for filing new Child Victims Act cases closes.

The case involves alleged sexual abuse involving Boy Scout leaders decades ago. The first, filed Thursday, alleges an 11-year-old boy was repeatedly sexually abused by his scoutmaster, Larry Hardy, from 1974 through 1978. The lawsuit alleges Allegheny Highlands Council officials were aware or should have been aware that Hardy had inappropriate contact with children before 1974. Hardy passed away in 2011.

The suit alleges violations of state criminal law, negligence, negligent failure to warn and implement child sexual abuse policies, negligent hiring, negligent supervision and training, negligent retention, breach of fiduciary duty and failing to report abuse.

“…Plaintiff endured sexual violence, sex, sexual abuse, sexual assault and molestation and sustained serious and severe damage, harm and injuries,” the lawsuit states. “Plantiff was caused to suffer severe and significant conscious pain and suffering, including physical suffering resulting in psychological suffering, emotional suffering and distress and mental anguish and will continue to suffer great pain of mind and body, severe and permanent emotional distress and physical manifestations of emotional distress.”

The extended “look back” window included when the state Legislature passed the Child Victims Act ends Aug. 14 after a year-long extension prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

With the deadline looming for Child Victims Act cases, some state lawmakers want to create a one-year look back for adults to sue over past sexual abuse. The Adult Victims Act was passed unanimously in the state Senate in June but never made it out of the Assembly’s Judiciary Committee. The legislation was first proposed in 2019.

The legislation is sponsored by Sen. Brad Hoylman, D-Manhattan, and Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal, D-Manhattan. The legislation can still be taken up in the Assembly when the next legislative session begins in January.

“The ASA is a common sense, narrowly tailored piece of legislation that will provide adult survivors of sexual assault who were stymied by short statutes of limitations with access to long-denied justice,” Rosenthal said after the Senate passed the bill. “Now that the State Senate has passed the bill, the Assembly, the People’s House, must act to continue to support survivors. I want to thank my partner in the state Senate, Brad Hoylman, for his commitment to survivors and for fighting alongside me and the coalition to see the CVA, and now the ASA become law.”

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