BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Attorneys handling child sexual abuse cases are preparing to take on a lot of work this week. The Child Victims Act will create hundreds of lawsuits right here in Western New York when it goes into effect later this week.
This also gives abuse victims a one-year window to file lawsuits no matter how long ago the abuse took place.
“These are people who were raped as children. They were betrayed by clergy, by teachers and by scout masters,” said attorney Steve Boyd. “These are people who kept this secret for decades. It’s typical that the first time a person can talk about this is in their late 40s and 50s.”
Herman Law is a firm based in New York City that represents victims of child sexual abuse. On Wednesday lawyers from that office will be holding press conferences across the state – including in Buffalo – to discuss new allegations.
This includes three new lawsuits expected to be brought forward at the local press conference. The first is against late-Monsignor Edward Walker, who is accused of sexually abusing a child in the rectory of Holy Name of Jesus parish in Buffalo.
The second lawsuit will be filed against Reverend Michael Lewandowski. The victim alleges he was sexually assaulted by Lewandowski at St. Francis High School in Athol Springs when he was approximately 16-years-old.
The third lawsuit expected to be discussed at Wednesdays press conference involves a man who says he was sexually abused when he was eight-years-old by an unnamed active priest who is still employed by the Diocese of Buffalo.
“There’s a lot of names that we’re going to hear about over the next few weeks that were not on these lists of priests that were produced by the Diocese,” said Jeff Herman, founder of Herman Law. “This is one of the really important benefits of the Child Victims Act, which is that it’s going to expose predators that otherwise would not have been exposed.”
In a statement to News 4, a representative from the Diocese of Buffalo said “The Diocese encourages anyone with a claim of abuse to contact the civil authorities and diocesan Victim Assistance Coordinator so that the complaint can be investigated.”