NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – One day after Gov. Cuomo signed the Child Victims Act into law, a class action lawsuit has been filed against the archdiocese of New York.
During a Friday morning press conference, attorney Jeff Herman said the suit was filed on behalf of Emmett Caldwell.
Caldwell alleges he was the victim of sexual abuse while a child in the Catholic Church. He and several other victims claim the archdiocese tricked them into waiving their right to sue the church for abuse.
Herman said Friday that his client was convinced to join the church's Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program (IRCP) without the aid of an independent lawyer.
Herman alleges that the program's purpose was to "eliminate claims of victims before the Child Victims Act was passed and became law."
WEB EXTRA - Attorney Jeff Herman Announces New Lawsuit Against The Archdiocese Of New York:
The attorney slammed the head of New York's archdiocese, Cardinal Timothy Dolan, saying the program was nothing more than a scheme to pay victims "pennies on the dollar."
"A contract, like a release, may be voided where one party is taken advantage of," Herman explained.
The lawsuit is not seeking to void the contracts signed with the IRCP; allowing Caldwell and others the ability to take the archdiocese to court under the state's new Child Victims Act.
The new law extends the statute of limitations in child sex abuse cases, giving victims until the age of 28 to seek criminal charges instead of age 23. They can also sue for damages until age 55.
It also creates a one-year litigation window for victims to file lawsuits.
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