This January, a Bronx Roman Catholic Priest was suspended for allegedly abusing children three decades ago, according to the New York Times. Reverend Richard Gorman stepped away from his role in the church after two accusers recently came forward after roughly three decades of silence. The alleged abuse occurred in Westchester County, and according to the New York Archdiocese newspaper, law enforcement had declared the accusations credible, though not yet substantiated. One of the alleged victims said that Reverend Gorman, then a priest at St. Barnabas parish, transported him, then a 13-year-old, from one parish to another church building, where the abuse occurred just the once. According to the victim’s attorney, Michael Reck, he decided it was time to come forward because, “he was at a stage of his life where he was aware of the trauma and realized the perpetrator could still access children.”
However, Reverend Gorman’s defense attorney and longtime friend has said, “I’m convinced that these allegations are not of a criminal nature at this juncture. He’s done a lot of good for people. It’s a real shame.” Reverend Gorman is known for his crusades against strip clubs in the area and other sex businesses that had tried opening in his parish when he was a community board chairman, as well as for his passion to clean up industrial waste sites. Whether his good deeds accurately reflect on his personality behind closed doors is to be determined. New information from the third rape victim is being waited on. But what does this mean in terms of legal action, since the alleged abuse occurred 30 years ago? If the accusations prove to be true, what would that mean for Reverend Richard Gorman?
New York Statute of Limitations for Sexual Abuse of a Child
In New York, the statute of limitations is extended in sexual abuse cases involving children, but not for sexual assault cases in which the victim was an adult. If the victim makes a claim against a school or church that employed the perpetrator, or if the action was based in negligence as opposed to criminal behavior, the statute of limitations is three years. In 2006, New York created a special statute of limitations for sex crime victims, increasing the statute of limitations for civil action (seeking monetary damages) to five years. However, there is no criminal statute of limitations in sex crimes in the state of New York, meaning that in Reverend Richard Gorman’s case, he could still be charged and sentenced for sexual molestation of three children if he is found guilty of the crimes he committed 30 years ago.
Contact a New York Sexual Assault Attorney
If you or a loved one has ever experienced sexual abuse, even if it occurred years past, you may be eligible for compensation from a civil suit. If the assault occurred more than five years ago, while you may not be able to file a civil suit for damages, it is vital to come forward and press criminal charges for your own healing as well as for the safety of the community that the sexual predator inhabits. Contact an experienced sexual assault attorney at once.
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