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CRIMINAL DEFENSE • DISCIPLINARY INVESTIGATIONS & HEARINGS

If I was sexually abused many years ago, can I still bring a lawsuit for damages?

Under New York Criminal Procedural Law §30.10, there is no statute of limitations for rape, a criminal sexual act, aggravated sexual abuse or a course of sexual conduct against a child. However, there is a five-year statute of limitations for cases involving other felony sex offenses.

Although there is no statutory DNA exception in New York, the common law indicates its existence in specific cases. The five-year statute of limitations was extended to 10 years in People v. Ramos, 877 N.Y.S.2d 177 (N.Y. App. Div 2009) in which the defendant’s whereabouts were unknown until he was identified in a DNA profile match from a rape kit. In another case, People v. Brown, 890 N.Y.S.2d 415 (N.Y. App. Ct. 2009), an action was allowed to continue even though the complaint was filed long after the five-year statute of limitations had run because recent DNA evidence revealed the defendant’s identity.

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