Two weeks ago, the Child Victims Act was put into practice in New York, reopening the legal window for the year on past child molestation cases that were prevented by the statute of limitation. Already, 570 lawsuits have been filed. One Manhattan hospital, where a serial predator practiced for decades, has already settled with over 200 victims, even before their claims reached a court.
By: Hellen Zaboulani
As reported by the NY Post, at Rockefeller University Hospital, the deceased pedophile pediatrician Reginald Archibald may have abused over 1,000 children. A rush of cases brought against the hospital has already been “resolved” via settlements, said lawyers Mariann Wang and Paul Mones. They did not disclose details of the settlements. Archibald’s twisted abuse, is not the only issue. Last week, a suit was filed against Dr. Barry Dworkin for allegedly molested an 11-year-old patient in 1977 while working alongside Archibald at Rockefeller U. Dworkin, now a professor emeritus at Penn State, did not comment. A Penn State spokesman said the “deeply troubling” accusation predates Dworkin’s time at the school, but said they would look into his employment history.
Rockefeller University in Manhattan, which declined to comment, is among the big institutions expected to have numerous lawsuits filed against it. Other such institutions include the Catholic Church, the Boy Scouts, and public and private schools. Nobody knows how much these institutions could be forced to pay out to victims who don’t settle and do end up in court, if their allegations are proved to be true. “I would not be surprised if it was $1 billion plus,” said Manhattan attorney Jennifer Freeman of the Marsh Law Firm. “This is decades of abuse we’re talking about.”
The avalanche of old abuse cases were reborn on August 14th, thanks to the state legislature created in February, and have swiftly begun to hit local courts. Most of the lawsuits target members of large institutions such as the churches, hospitals and boy scouts. Some courageous claims have also been made against more personal abusers — five cases were brought up against parents or siblings. Even death has not stopped defendants from seeking justice. Four petitions were filed by the estates of deceased alleged victims. The cases date as far back as 1952, as per a Post analysis of 286 cases in the five boroughs, Long Island, Westchester and Albany, which name 394 plaintiffs. In many cases, the plaintiffs have long fled from New York.
The consequence could include bankruptcy for the smaller accused institutions and a total restructuring for those with deep pockets, such as the Archdiocese of New York and the Boy Scouts. Tim Kosnoff, a Houston-based attorney, has 90 clients in NYS alone ready to sue the Boy Scouts. At least a dozen other states are considering similar laws to extend the statute of limitations on sex crimes against children. Kosnoff launched a national television advertising campaign seeking victims, and he’s signed up 1,000 people from 48 states and two territories, and expects another 200-plus by the end of the week.
“It literally dwarfs what we’ve seen in the Catholic Church cases,” Kosnoff said, stating that his company has identified 350 new accused predators. “Most of the ones that we’re getting, these are just the worst of the worst. Hardcore, violent child rapists,” he said. “Congress really needs to convene hearings and [issue] subpoenas. They [the Boy Scouts] need to be brought to heel and made to answer questions,” Kosnoff added. The Boy Scouts previously hinted it will file for bankruptcy, if need be. Kosnoff says his clients won’t mind. “They (the boys scouts) have forfeited any right to exist,” he said.