Frank Kelly said he was sexually abused by his doctor when he was a child.
"The story is that when I was a youngster, I was going to this doctor, me and my sister," Kelly said. "We went there so many times for visits, examinations. And he started to abuse us."
The statute of limitations to file suit had long since expired, but a new law opens up a one-year look back period for Kelly and other victims of childhood sexual abuse to seek restitution.
"New York went — with this look back window — went from one of the worst places for a survivor to bring a lawsuit or seek restorative justice to one of the better ones. So you have a one-year, one-time window. It starts on August 14," attorney Jennifer Freeman said.
The bill known as the Child Victims Act was passed by the legislature earlier this year and signed into law by Gov. Andrew Cuomo. This was the first legislative session in 10 years in which Democrats controlled both houses. The Republican-controlled state Senate blocked the Child Victims Act for more than a decade.
The bill was vigorously opposed by the Catholic Church and other religious institutions that now face potential liability.
"For the past 13 years, the bill died in the state Senate. Not because people voted against it, but even worse, because they wouldn't bring the bill to the floor," the governor said after signing the bill into law.
Supporters of the new law say that for victims, it will enable them to gain some closure on what was undoubtedly severe childhood trauma.
"This place that allowed this should be held responsible for this," Kelly said.
Cuomo held a signing ceremony on February 14, but the message that day wound up getting overshadowed by Amazon's decision to pull out of a deal that would have built a new headquarters in Queens. Now, lawyers who want to bring suit are advertising directly to potential clients ahead of the look back period that will open Wednesday.