As its name indicates, New York’s Adult Survivors Act allows adults who survived sexual abuse in the state a one-year “lookback window” to file claims that would otherwise be too late to file due to statutes of limitations.
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) signed the measure on May 24, 2022. It went into effect six months later and is set to expire Friday.
As a result, a flurry of new accusations have been made public as people hurry to file before the deadline.
Already the law has been used to sue entertainers such as Russell Brand and Marilyn Manson and disgraced movie producer Harvey Weinstein. Writer E. Jean Carroll was awarded $5 million in damages earlier this year after she used the law to sue former President Donald Trump.
Recent days have seen lawsuits brought against rapper Sean “Diddy” Combs, who was accused by singer Cassie of rape and abuse over a span of more than a decade, a case that was then settled. Diddy was sued again on Thursday by a woman who claims she dated the rapper in 1991 when she was a student at Syracuse University, according to TMZ. The lawsuits alleges Diddy sexually assaulted her and recorded it. He has denied the allegations.
A former “Cosby Show” stand-in added her name to the long list of Bill Cosby accusers for an alleged drugging incident from the 1980s.
The list goes on: A former fan accused actor Jaime Foxx of sexually assaulting her on a restaurant rooftop in 2015; a former model said that Guns N’ Roses frontman Axl Rose assaulted her in a hotel room in a “volatile rage” in 1989; another former model said photographer Terry Richardson assaulted her during a shoot in 2004; and a former employee alleged that famed music producer L.A. Reid sexually assaulted and harassed her in the mid-2000s.
On Wednesday night, New York City Mayor Eric Adams (D) was accused of assaulting a woman in 1993 while he was working as a transit police officer. (“I would never do anything to harm anyone,” Adams said Thursday morning, adding that he does not recall any interaction with the accuser.)
In total, more than 2,500 lawsuits have been filed under the Adult Survivors Act, The Associated Press reported.
But the majority were not of the type that grab headlines. According to the AP, most of the suits filed under the act related to alleged abuse in New York state prisons and local jails. One woman, Alexandria Johnson, said she was raped multiple times while incarcerated.
“For so long, I didn’t have a voice. And it didn’t matter, I thought. Like, who was I?” Johnson told the AP.
“There’s so many stories, so many, not just mine,” she added.
The Adult Survivors Act grew out of the Child Victims Act, a New York state law enacted in 2019 that allowed people who were abused as minors a similar “lookback window” to file their claims. Hochul said that law had “forgot[ten] a lot of people.”
Need help? Visit RAINN’s National Sexual Assault Online Hotline or the National Sexual Violence Resource Center’s website.