A statute of limitations (or SOL), simply, is the maximum amount of time one has to bring a lawsuit from the time of the injury or other ground for a lawsuit.
SOLs vary from state to state and from claim to claim. For example, a SOL for a lawsuit about a contract may be different from a lawsuit about a personal injury and both may be of varying durations between different states. The statute of limitations may also be set to begin running at different times. Some SOLs begin running at the time of the injury and others begin running when the injury is discovered. In cases with minors, the SOL is “tolled” or doesn’t begin to run until the minor turns 18.
Child Sex Abuse Statutes of Limitation and Related Laws
Current Civil SOL
In New York, the civil SOL for civil sex abuse claims is age 23 (age of majority, 18, plus 5 years) against the perpetrator. For injury or negligence, the civil SOL is set at age 21 (age of majority, 18, plus 3 years) and the SOL is age 19 (age of majority, 18, plus 1 year) for vicarious assault or liability. There is no discovery rule.
SOL vs. perp. (for felonies): + 5 years, from majority = Age 23
SOL vs. perp. ( for personal injury or negligence): + 3 years, from majority= Age 21
SOL liability vs. perp. ( for vicarious assault/battery, or, vicarious): + 1 year, from majority = 19
Majority Tolling: 18
New York State Law Provides:
Action by victim of conduct constituting certain sexual offenses
Notwithstanding any other limitation set forth in this article, a civil claim or cause of action to recover from a defendant as hereinafter defined, for physical, psychological or other injury or condition suffered by a person as a result of acts by such defendant of rape in the first degree as defined in section 130.35 of the penal law, or criminal sexual act in the first degree as defined in section 130.50 of the penal law, or aggravated sexual abuse in the first degree as defined in section 130.70 of the penal law, or course of sexual conduct against a child in the first degree as defined in section 130.75 of the penal law may be brought within five years. As used in this section, the term “defendant” shall mean only a person who commits the acts described in this section or who, in a criminal proceeding, could be charged with criminal liability for the commission of such acts pursuant to section 20.00 of the penal law and shall not apply to any related civil claim or cause of action arising from such acts. Nothing in this section shall be construed to require that a criminal charge be brought or a criminal conviction be obtained as a condition of bringing a civil cause of action or receiving a civil judgment pursuant to this section or be construed to require that any of the rules governing a criminal proceeding be applicable to any such civil action.
NY CPLR § 213-c
Actions to be commenced within three years: for non-payment of money collected on execution; for
penalty created by statute; to recover chattel; for injury to property; for personal injury; for malpractice
other than medical, dental or podiatric malpractice; to annul a marriage on the ground of fraud
The following actions must be commenced within three years:
- an action to recover damages for an injury to property except as provided in section 214-c;
- an action to recover damages for a personal injury except as provided in sections 214-b, 214-c and 215;
NY CPLR § 214
Action by former student alleging sexual abuse during his Majority under N.Y. C.P.L.R. § 105(j) by a non-party teacher was time-barred under the three-year statute of limitations for negligence in N.Y. C.P.L.R. § 214(5) and the one-year statute of limitations for sexual abuse/vicarious liability in N.Y. C.P.L.R. § 215(3) because the infancy and insanity tolls in N.Y. C.P.L.R. § 208 applied concurrently, not consecutively.
John Doe No. 6 v Yeshiva & Mesivta Torah Temimah, Inc. 21 Misc 3d 443, 240 NYLJ 68, 863 NYS2d 891 (NY Super. 2008)
Actions to be commenced within one year: against sheriff, coroner or constable; for
escape of prisoner; for assault, battery, false imprisonment, malicious prosecution, libel or
slander; for violation of right of privacy; for penalty given to informer; on arbitration award
The following actions shall be commenced within one year:
- an action to recover damages for assault, battery, false imprisonment, malicious prosecution, libel, slander, false words causing special damages, or a violation of the right of privacy under section fifty-one of the civil rights law;
NY CPLR § 215
Majority, yes, 18.
Infancy, insanity–If a person entitled to commence an action is under a disability because of infancy or insanity at the time the cause of action accrues, and the time otherwise limited for commencing the action is three years or more and expires no later than three years after the disability ceases, or the person under the disability dies, the time within which the action must be commenced shall be extended to three years after the disability ceases or the person under the disability dies, whichever event first occurs; if the time otherwise limited is less than three years, the time shall be extended by the period of disability
N.Y. C.P.L.R. LAW § 208
Nothing suggests legislative intent to extend the infancy toll of CPLR § 208 beyond 18 for a person in foster care, nor was foster care alone, without an overall inability to function in society sufficient to invoke the toll for insanity contained in CPLR §208).
Davis v St. Joseph’s Children’s Services, 64 NY2d 794, 486 NYS2d 914, 476 NE2d 313 (N.Y. 1985)
The district court held that Overall’s action was governed by the one-year statute of limitations set forth in N.Y. Civ. Prac. L. & R. § 215(3) (McKinney 1990), 6 but that the limitations period had been tolled until her eighteenth birthday under N.Y. Civ. Prac. L. & R. § 208 (McKinney 1990). Accordingly, the court found that absent some further reason to toll the limitations period, Overall’s claim would have been time-barred on November 8, 1961 — one year after she turned eighteen.
Overall v. Estate of Klotz, 52 F.3d 398, 403, 1995 U.S. App. LEXIS 6375, 12-13 (2d Cir. N.Y. 1995)
This is not the first time New York courts have faced lawsuits brought by persons who claim to have recently unearthed long-hidden memories of child abuse. In other repressed-memory child abuse cases, New York has consistently refused to toll the statute of limitations on the theory that the abuse victim’s memory loss constituted insanity, that the abuser was somehow profiting from his own wrongdoing (equitable estoppel), or that the limitations period should begin after the abuse was “discovered” through psychotherapy.
Overall v. Estate of Klotz, 52 F.3d 398, 400, 1995 U.S. App. LEXIS 6375, 3 (2d Cir. N.Y. 1995)
Rejecting discovery tolling for drug addiction while noting “the legislative history of CPLR 208 indicates that the Legislature intended the toll for insanity to be narrowly interpreted . . . [and it] meant to extend the toll for insanity to only those individuals who are unable to protect their legal rights because of an over-all inability to function in society. . . . In reaching this conclusion, it should be noted that a contrary interpretation of the statute could greatly and perhaps inappropriately expand the class of persons able to assert the toll for insanity and could, concomitantly, weaken the policy of the Statutes of Limitation as statutes of repose.”) (OVERVIEW: Woman’s civil sexual assault suit was dismissed as untimely as she was not entitled to a tolling of the applicable statute of limitations period based on her alleged insanity as her drug addiction did not establish insanity and she executed various contracts, complaints, and affidavits during the alleged time she was insane and, thus, was able to otherwise protect her legal rights. City of New York Administrative Code provisions that created its own sub-classes of intentional torts modifying the detailed scheme by the New York Legislature were preempted by the state law statute of limitations applicable to the claims.)
Cordero v. Epstein, 22 Misc. 3d 161, 166, 869 N.Y.S.2d 725, 728-729 (N.Y. Sup. Ct. 2008)
Tolling during criminal action vs perp. Yes.
(a) Whenever it is shown that a criminal action against the same defendant has been commenced with respect to the event or occurrence from which a claim governed by this section arises, the plaintiff shall have at least one year from the termination of the criminal action as defined in section 1.20 of the criminal procedure law in which to commence the civil action, notwithstanding that the time in which to commence such action has already expired or has less than a year remaining.
(b) Whenever it is shown that a criminal action against the same defendant has been commenced with respect to the event or occurrence from which a claim governed by this section arises, and such criminal action is for rape in the first degree as defined in section 130.35 of the penal law, or criminal sexual act in the first degree as defined in section 130.50 of the penal law, or aggravated sexual abuse in the first degree as defined in section 130.70 of the penal law, or course of sexual conduct against a child in the first degree as defined in section 130.75 of the penal law, the plaintiff shall have at least five years from the termination of the criminal action as defined in section 1.20 of the criminal procedure law in which to commence the civil action, notwithstanding that the time in which to commence such action has already expired or has less than a year remaining.
NY CLS CPLR § 215
Current Criminal SOL
In New York, there is no criminal SOL for 1st degree rape (including any rape of a child under age 13 by an adult), 1st degree aggravated sexual abuse, and 1st degree course of sexual conduct against a child. The criminal SOL for all other felonies is capped at age 23 (age of majority, 18, plus 5 years) and for misdemeanors is capped at age 20 (age of majority, 18, plus two years).
NONE, for 1st degree rape (including any rape of a child under age 13 by an
adult), 1st degree aggravated sexual abuse, and 1st degree course of
sexual conduct against a child.
SOL for all other felonies vs. perp.: + 5 years from majority= Age 23
SOL for all other misdemeanors vs. perp.: + 2 years from majority = Age 20
New York State Law Provides:
Timeliness of prosecutions; periods of limitation
- A criminal action must be commenced within the period of limitation prescribed in the ensuing subdivisions of this section.
2 Except as otherwise provided in subdivision three:
(a) A prosecution for a class A felony, or rape in the first degree as defined in section 130.35 of the penal law, or a crime defined or formerly defined in section 130.50 of the penal law, or aggravated sexual abuse in the first degree as defined in section 130.70 of the penal law, or course of sexual conduct against a child in the first degree as defined in section 130.75 of the penal law may be commenced at any time; (b) A prosecution for any other felony must be commenced within five years after the commission thereof;
(c) A prosecution for a misdemeanor must be commenced within two years after the commission thereof;
3 Notwithstanding the provisions of subdivision two, the periods of limitation for the commencement of criminal actions are extended as follows in the indicated circumstances:
(e) A prosecution for course of sexual conduct against a child in the second degree as defined in section 130.80 of the penal law may be commenced within five years of the commission of the most recent act of sexual conduct.
(f) For purposes of a prosecution involving a sexual offense as defined in article one hundred thirty of the penal law, other than a sexual offense delineated in paragraph (a) of subdivision two of this section, committed against a child less than eighteen years of age, incest in the first, second or third degree as defined in sections 255.27, 255.26 and 255.25 of the penal law committed against a child less than eighteen years of age, or use of a child in a sexual performance as defined in section 263.05 of the penal law, the period of limitation shall not begin to run until the child has reached the age of eighteen or the offense is reported to a law enforcement agency or statewide central register of child abuse and maltreatment, whichever occurs earlier.
NY CRIM PRO § 30.10
Service of charges
The trial counsel to whom court-martial charges are referred for trial shall cause to be served upon the accused a copy of the charges upon which trial is to be had. In time of peace no person shall, against his objection, be brought to trial, or be required to participate by himself or counsel in a session called by the military judge under subdivision (a) of section 130.39 of this chapter, in a general court-martial case within a period of five days after the service of charges upon him or in a special court-martial within a period of three days subsequent to the service of the charges upon him.
NY MIL § 130.35
Admissibility of records of courts of inquiry
(a) In any case not extending to the dismissal of an officer, the sworn testimony, contained in the duly authenticated record of proceedings of a court of inquiry, of a person whose oral testimony cannot be obtained, may, if otherwise admissible under the rules of evidence, be read in evidence by any party before a court-martial if the accused was a party before the court of inquiry and if the same issue was involved or if the accused consents to the introduction of such evidence.
(b) Such testimony may be read in evidence only by the defense in cases extending to the dismissal of an officer.
(c) Such testimony may also be read in evidence before a court of inquiry or a military board.
NY MIL § 130.50
Vacation of suspension
(a) Before the vacation of the suspension of a special court-martial sentence which as approved includes a bad-conduct discharge or any court-martial sentence which includes confinement or of any general court-martial sentence, the officer having special court-martial jurisdiction over the probationer shall hold a hearing on the alleged violation of probation. The probationer shall be represented at the hearing by counsel if he so desires.
(b) The record of the hearing and the recommendations of the officer having special court-martial jurisdiction shall be sent for action to the officer exercising general court-martial jurisdiction over the probationer. If he vacates the suspension, any unexecuted part of the sentence, except a dismissal, shall be executed, subject to applicable restrictions in subdivision (b) of section 130.68 of this article. The vacation of the suspension of a dismissal is not effective until approved by the adjutant general.
(c) The suspension of any other sentence may be vacated by the authority competent to convene, for the command in which the accused is serving or assigned, a court of the kind that imposed the sentence.
NY MIL § 130.70
Course of sexual conduct against a child in the first degree
- A person is guilty of course of sexual conduct against a child in the first degree when, over a period of time not less than three months in duration:
(a) he or she engages in two or more acts of sexual conduct, which includes at least one act of sexual intercourse, oral sexual conduct, anal sexual conduct or aggravated sexual contact, with a child less than eleven years old; or
(b) he or she, being eighteen years old or more, engages in two or more acts of sexual conduct, which include at least one act of sexual intercourse, oral sexual conduct, anal sexual conduct or aggravated sexual contact, with a child less than thirteen years old.
- A person may not be subsequently prosecuted for any other sexual offense involving the same victim unless the other charged offense occurred outside the time period charged under this section.
Course of sexual conduct against a child in the first degree is a class B felony.
NY PENAL § 130.75
Age of Majority / Age of Consent / Age of Marriage
Age of Majority: 18. See, N.Y. C.P.L.R. 105(j).
Age of Consent: 17. See, N.Y. Penal Law § 130.55.
Age of Marriage with Parental Consent: 17 with judicial consent [effective July 20, 2017].
Age of Marriage without Parental Consent: 18.
See, N.Y. Dom. Rel. Law §§ 15, 15-a.
Medical Neglect Statute
CIVIL MEDICAL NEGLECT STATUTE
There is a religious exemption to child endangerment for parents who fail to provide proper medical care to their child in favor of spiritual treatment in accordance with an established religion.
New York Civil Statute:
NEW YORK defense to child endangerment
In any prosecution for endangering the welfare of a child based upon an alleged failure or refusal to provide proper medical care or treatment to an ill child, it is an affirmative defense that the defendant is a parent, guardian or other person legally charged with the care or custody of such child; is a member or adherent of an organized church or religious group the tenets of which prescribe prayer as the principal treatment for illness; and treated or caused such ill child to be treated in accordance with such tenets.
New York Penal Law §260.15
CRIMINAL MEDICAL NEGLECT STATUTE
There is no religious exemption to criminal liability for parents failing to provide medical care based on faith.
New York Criminal Statute:
Religous Liberty Statute
Religious liberty statute that could put children at risk
No law as of January 2014
The information provided is solely for informational purposes and is not legal advice. To determine the SOL in a particular case, contact a lawyer in the state.