The Catholic Church has been the center of New York State's Child Victims Act (CVA) settlements, however other institutions could be severely affected, including local school districts.

Education expert and Director of the State School Finance Consortium, Dr. Rick Timbs of Whitesboro, told Spectrum News that CVA's "impact on schools is a case of unintended consequences."

“It’s going to be expensive for some districts. These claims go back decades, decades, decades, decades. So, some of the gains that some of these school districts have made in terms of their financial picture…will be exhausted in no time,” Timbs predicted during the Spectrum News interview.

Dr. Richard Timbs of the Statewide Schools Finance Consortium. (Submitted press photo)
Dr. Richard Timbs of the Statewide School Finance Consortium. (Submitted press photo)

The New York Child Victims Act which passed the State Legislature in 2019, gave survivors of child sexual abuse in New York the opportunity to file a civil claim against the individual who hurt them, and also the institution responsible. There is no stipulation in regards to when the incident occurred, no matter how long ago the abuse is alleged. Under the legislation, survivors of any age could seek justice and compensation while reclaiming some of the power taken from them as kids. While the highest profile cases have surrounded the Catholic Church, this legislation opens the door for matters that occurred previously at community organizations such as Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, sports and health organizations and school districts, among others.

The news report referenced cases in the Niagara Falls School District that date back to the 1960s. Niagara Falls City Superintendent Mark Laurrie worries that cases at his district might not be covered in full by dated insurance plans from decades ago that won't cover millions of dollars in settlements by today's standards. He told Spectrum he fears money could be taken from state aid, which would ultimately hurt current students in his district.

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