Updated Aug 15, 2019

New York opens yearlong window for victims to file past abuse claims

An activist with sign denouncing the Catholic Church's alleged lack of response to the abuse of children by clergy. Photo: Andy Katz/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

More than 400 child sexual abuse lawsuits were filed in New York Wednesday, as the state started accepting cases previously barred by the statute of limitations, AP reports.

Why it matters: Institutions that have long cared for children, like the Catholic Church, the Boy Scouts, public school districts and hospitals, are girding for what could be a devastating financial blow. All such institutions were named in lawsuits filed Wednesday. A similar law, passed in California in 2002, resulted in Catholic dioceses there paying $1.2 billion in legal settlements.

The big picture: Under New York's Child Victims Act, New Yorkers have a 1-year window to file lawsuits concerning child sexual abuse.

  • Hundreds of people filed suits Wednesday against the Catholic Church or one of its several New York dioceses, per AP.

This article has been updated with details about lawsuits filed.

Go deeper: The stunning scale of the global Catholic sex abuse crisis

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Cardinal George Pell's appeal against sexual abuse convictions fails

Cardinal George Pell arrives at Melbourne County Court on Feb. 27 in Melbourne, Australia. Photo: Michael Dodge/Getty Images

Cardinal George Pell, the former Vatican treasurer and most senior Catholic cleric to be convicted of child sexual abuse, lost his appeal against the charges in a 2-1 ruling in Australia Wednesday.

The big picture: Pell was sentenced in March in Victoria's County Court in Melbourne to 6 years in prison for sexually abusing 2 choirboys in the late 1990s. His spokeswoman said in a statement Pell was considering appealing to the highest court, per AP.

What they're saying: The Vatican said in a statement it acknowledged the court’s decision. "[T]he Cardinal has always maintained his innocence," it said. It added it confirmed its commitment to pursue "members of the clergy who commit such abuse."

Go deeper: The stunning scale of the global Catholic sex abuse crisis

Keep ReadingArrowAug 21, 2019

Global #MeToo movement has resulted in 6 convictions, 5 charges of influential figures

Bill Cosby, Larry Nassar and Allison Mack have been convicted on charges related to sexual misconduct. Photos: Matt Rourke-Pool, Jeff Kowalsky/AFP and Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Hundreds of powerful people — predominately men — have been accused of sexual offenses since the #MeToo movement went viral in 2017. After Jeffrey Epstein's death, only five of them currently face charges, while six others have been convicted.

Why it matters: The #MeToo movement, which was created by civil rights activist Tarana Burke and gained traction after allegations against film producer Harvey Weinstein came to light in 2017, focused global attention on previously unchecked sexual misconduct, leading at least 201 powerful men to lose jobs or major positions. But the movement, dubbed a global reckoning, has had few legal consequences for the accused. Here are some of the most notable cases.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Jan 8, 2020

#MeToo vs. statutes of limitations

Harvey Weinstein (C). Photo: Yana Paskova/Getty Images

There's a grand jury indictment against Harvey Weinstein, pushing his trial back to 2020 but allowing one of his alleged victims to testify against him.

Why it matters: The new indictment gets around statute of limitations issues pertaining to Annabella Sciorra's testimony, the New York Times reports.

Go deeperArrowAug 26, 2019