Childcare Sexual Abuse Lawyer in New York
In the United States, nearly one-quarter (23.4 percent) of children aged five and under receive care in a daycare center, nursery, or preschool. Most daycare workers are trustworthy and caring, but one bad actor can endanger many children in organized care.
Daycare sexual abuse is an issue that leaves children with immediate and long-term impacts on their physical and mental health. Victims of sexual abuse are more likely to suffer depression, anxiety, and PTSD. They often become defiant and untrustworthy.
The attorneys at Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Firm offer a family-oriented approach to childcare sex abuse cases. We offer decades of experience and a reputation as pre-eminent trial lawyers in New York City.
While a civil lawsuit can’t repair your child’s trauma, it can make it easier to cover medical bills and therapy expenses, so your child can find a way to thrive.
You likely feel overwhelmed, angry, and alone if your child suffered sex abuse at a daycare center. But you aren’t alone. The Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Firm is here for you and your child.
Call 212-869-3500 today or contact us online for a free consultation.
How does New York define childcare sexual abuse?
New York defines sexual assault as nonconsensual touching or contact of a sexual nature. Sex crimes include rape, criminal sexual contact, sexual abuse, and predatory sexual assault. Some of these crimes are misdemeanors, but most are felonies. Most convicted offenders serve prison time.
Childcare sex abuse can include:
- Oral, vaginal, or anal penetration
- Creating child pornography
- Forcing children to masturbate on themselves or the abuser
- Obscene texts or calls to a child
- Exhibitionism or exposing oneself to a child
- Psychological pressure to engage in sexual activity
Ninety percent of children who faced sexual abuse endured it from someone they trusted. Of that 90 percent, 60 percent faced abuse from someone trusted by the family. The remaining 30 percent suffered abuse at the hands of a family member.
Does New York State have laws to protect children from being abused in daycare?
Originally, New York law required child sex abuse victims to file civil lawsuits before their 23rd birthday. However, that law didn’t reflect reality. Most abuse victims don’t come forward until their 40s or early 50s, making the average age of coming forward 52 years old.
So, the New York legislature passed a new law that extends the statute of limitations for child sex abuse cases. They called it the New York Child Victims Act.
About the New York Child Victims Act
Governor Cuomo signed the New York Child Victims Act on February 14, 2019. Its most essential changes included:
- A one-year lookback period where child abuse survivors could file a claim, regardless of age. (Unfortunately, this lookback period expired on August 1, 2021.)
- Child victims have until their 55th birthday to file suit.
- Survivors (usually parents) and victims can bring criminal charges against the abuser until the victim’s 28th birthday.
You can file a claim under the New York Child Victims Act if:
- You are a survivor of childhood sexual abuse
- You filed a claim previously, but it was dismissed due to the statute of limitations
- You suffered mental, emotional, psychological, or physical injuries due to sexual abuse as a child
Since the law includes lawsuits against individuals and organizations, it exposed larger organizations that turned away from abuse claims. The Boy Scouts, Catholic Church, daycare facilities, and even former foster care providers now face lawsuits that weren’t possible before — opening the door to more victims holding their abusers responsible.
How common is childcare sexual abuse in New York?
Unfortunately, the child abuse rate in New York is nearly double the national rate.
Based on 2017 reports, the New York rate is 17.1 per 1,000 children. Nationally, it is 9.1 per 10,00 children.
Also, in 2017, 2,237 daycare providers faced convictions for abusing and neglecting children in their care. There are no specific statistics for New York, but considering the abuse rate, some of the abuse likely occurred in daycare centers.
What are the common signs of sexual abuse or neglect at daycare?
Wondering if your child endured sexual abuse at a daycare center? If your child is unwilling to open up, you can watch for these common signs:
- Reluctance to be left alone with particular individuals
- Angry outbursts
- Withdrawal from friends, family, and favorite activities
- Nightmares and sleeping difficulties
- Inappropriate level of sexual knowledge, language, and/or behaviors for their age
- Attempts to engage in inappropriate sexual acts with another child or simulate intercourse.
- Defensive behavior while toilet training or using the bathroom
- Regressive behaviors, including thumb-sucking or bedwetting
- Secretive behavior, including reluctance to talk about certain individuals
Look out for physical symptoms too, like:
- Bruising, swelling, or bleeding from genital or anal areas
- Sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
- Blood in urine
- New unexplained health issue
Very young children who can’t verbalize what happened to them may re-enact their experience. For example, they may place dolls and stuffed animals in sexual positions or act out running away from someone “bad.”
In general, look out for major changes in your child’s behavior. Even if it’s not sexual abuse, there could be something going on with your child that requires immediate attention.
Potential long-term effects of sexual abuse on children
Treatment, attention, expert guidance, and support from loved ones can help children recover from sexual abuse. But when children don’t receive treatment and support, the impacts can last a lifetime.
Older children become defiant and often have difficulty trusting adults, including their parents. If parents aren’t active in treatment or protecting their child, victims may withdraw from them and fall into toxic peer groups. Drug and alcohol abuse can often follow.
Adult victims of childhood sexual abuse face serious impacts on their mental and physical health. They may also face challenges with later sexual adjustment and have difficulty trusting partners. Without treatment, the initial depression and anxiety remain, and many victims develop post-traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD.)
What to do if you suspect your child was sexually abused at daycare
You must act immediately if you suspect your child suffered sexual abuse at their daycare. It’s tough to have your trust violated so profoundly, but you must act to protect your child and get them appropriate medical and mental health treatment.
Start with these steps:
- Do not allow the abuse to continue. Pull your child out of daycare immediately.
- Take your child to their pediatrician. They will find physical signs of abuse and protect your child’s health.
- Report the abuse to the daycare center, Child Protective Services, and the police department.
- Talk to other parents at the daycare center and see if they noticed anything similar in their children
- For more resources, call the National Child Abuse Hotline at (800) 422-4453.
You may want to consider legal action too. A lawsuit can’t solve your child’s trauma, but it can cover medical expenses and therapy. You can also request lost wages since you will likely need to take time off work to deal with this problem. As mentioned, victims of child sexual abuse cases can recover if they receive support. You want to be that port in the storm.
How can a New York sexual abuse lawyer help?
A New York sexual abuse attorney helps you file a civil lawsuit. These matters differ from criminal matters in that they help you collect damages for medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages, and other losses sustained during the ordeal.
The NYC prosecutor brings criminal charges. You can encourage this process by pressing charges, cooperating with the prosecutor, and preparing to testify.
Either way, an attorney-client relationship will help you through these processes, specifically by:
- Investigating the matter and finding witnesses
- Acting as a go-between for you and the daycare center
- Determining who to sue, e.g., organizations, businesses, and/or the abuser
- Advocate on your behalf as insurance companies and businesses prepare to fight against your claims
- Guide you through criminal proceedings, so you know which charges to press and who to contact
- Preserve evidence in case the victim wishes to pursue civil damages as an adult
An attorney with years of experience in this area can help you beyond a favorable jury verdict. Our advocacy can encourage the daycare center to settle out of court and allow you and your child to move forward and recover.
What is the statute of limitations for child sex abuse claims in New York State?
Parents should take action as soon as possible, including contacting a lawyer specializing in child sex abuse cases. You want to schedule regular treatment for your child and then move on to legal action.
While the New York Child Victims Act extends the statute of limitations, there are still limits:
- Victim lawsuits: Until their 55th birthday
- Civil claims by parents against the abuser: Three years
- Criminal claims against the abuser (victim and parents): Until the victim’s 28th birthday
While this may feel like plenty of time, remember memories fade, and evidence becomes stale. So, acting quickly is your best course of action.
Get help now! Discuss your claim with an experienced New York childcare sexual abuse attorney at Jacob Fuchsberg Law Firm
Childcare sexual abuse is a breach of trust and compromises your child’s well-being and mental security.
While we can’t turn back time and stop the incident, we can at least secure funds so your child receives medical treatment, and you receive reimbursement for lost wages. These two items can make a painful experience more manageable.
Your first step is to visit our experienced attorneys for a free case evaluation. We are prepared to help you file a lawsuit and find helpful resources. Speak up today, and keep other children from facing this harm.
Call the sexual abuse lawyers at Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Firm at 212-869-3500, or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.