Samantha Breakstone, an associate attorney with Weitz and Luxenberg out of New York City, announced Tuesday the firm is set to file 100 new sexual abuse lawsuits over the next month — 10 on Wednesday, two of which are in Erie County against the Diocese of Buffalo.
- Attorney discusses new abuse lawsuits
- Child Victims Act look-back window opens tomorrow
- Suits against churches, school and organizations in Erie County
With 1,300 new abuse cases across the state reviewed so far, victims range in age from 24 to 93.
“These are people who have been really anxiously awaiting their moment to talk about exactly what happened to them. And truth be told, they've waited too long," said Breakstone.
That, as the one-year look-back window for abuse victims opens Wednesday as outlined in the Child Victims Act, which was signed into law back on February 14.
The firm says the lawsuits are against a number of Dioceses across the state, and organizations like the Boy Scouts, as well as individuals, neighbors, camp counselors and those in foster care across Western New York.
"All of these entities were negligent in seeing what was in front of them. And for far too long, people have been able to prey on our most vulnerable members of society," said Breakstone.
And while there are a large number of church cases, Breakstone says what took her by surprise was the even higher number of public and private school cases in the state and at home, in Western New York.
"As parents, people trust their children all day long to a facility that's supposed to have their best interest at heart. And to find not only predators but repeat predators," said Breakstone.
The firm already represents about 1,200 abuse victims, including 129 in Western New York.
Bishop Richard Malone released a video apology to abuse survivors on behalf of the Diocese — which also published an FAQ on the Child Victims Act — on Tuesday: