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Long Island News

Long Island Lawmaker Seeks To Ease Financial Burden Of Child Sexual Assault Victims

Bebeto Matthews
Brian Toale shows a photo of himself at 16-years-old. Now 66, Toale says he was molested by an employee at a Catholic high school he attended on Long Island. Toale was one of the leaders in the fight to pass the Child Victims Act.

A state senator from Long Island has proposed legislation that would establish a legal fund for sexual assault victims who want to take advantage of a one-year window offered by New York to file civil lawsuits against their alleged offenders.

More than 850 cases have been filed since the Child Victims Act was signed into law in August. Most of the cases have targeted institutions with significant financial backing, like the Boys & Girls Club, Boy Scouts of America and the Catholic Church. 

State Senator Jim Gaughran of Long Island plans to introduce a bill when the legislature reconvenes in January. It would have a state agency manage a private fund to cover the legal fees associated with filing such cases. New Yorkers would be able to donate to the fund.

Lawmakers have considered introducing a bill that would create a fund to help victims pay for the long-term effects of abuse, such as mental and physical health problems, and medical expenses.

A previous version of this story said state Senator John Brooks would also draft a bill to create a fund for victims. A spokesperson for Brooks says he does not have such legislation in the works. 

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