New law in NY used to revive $20 million suit against Brooklyn diocese

New York City, N.Y., Mar 11, 2019 / 08:21 pm (CNA).- A new law in New York that extended the statute of limitations for the reporting of childhood sexual abuse has allowed a Florida man to reopen a $20 million suit against the Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn, for claims of sexual abuse of a minor against a former employee of the diocese.

James Carlino, 55, formerly of Queens, recently re-filed a suit in which he alleges that he suffered continual sexual abuse from his former basketball coach, Robert Oliva, previously employed by the Diocese of Brooklyn.

According to the New York Post, the suit alleges that the abuse occurred continuously between the years of 1974 and 1978, beginning when Carlino was 12 years old, and while Oliva was a “legendary” basketball coach at St. Teresa school in Queens. According to the suit, the abuse continued even after Oliva transferred to a new position at a different school.

Carlino, who now lives in Florida, had previously attempted to file the suit against the Diocese of Brooklyn in 2011, but it was dismissed due to the statute of limitations at the time, the Post added. However, the recently-passed Child Victims Act has extended the statute of limitations on civil cases involving childhood sexual abuse, allowing Carlino to re-file.

The act extended the age at which victims of child sexual abuse may bring civil charges against their abuser – extending it from from the age of 23 to the age of 55. Criminal prosecution cases can be brought forward until the accuser is the age of 28.

The act, signed by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo in February, also created a one-year window for victims of any age to come forward.

Prior to Carlino’s first attempted suit, Oliva pled guilty to two counts of child rape and one count of disseminating pornography to a minor in a Boston court for a charge of sexual abuse against Carlino, who was 14 at the time of the charge of abuse. Oliva was sentenced to five years’ probation, the New York Post reported.

The new lawsuit from Carlino alleges that “Oliva developed an inappropriate relationship with Carlino, inducing Carlino, as a very young child, to look up to Oliva, and to place absolute trust and confidence in Oliva. Oliva then abused that trust and confidence by sexually molesting Carlino.” It seeks damages for charges of assault, battery, negligence and emotional distress.

The suit comes just weeks after a Vatican summit on the global issue of the sex abuse crisis in the Church.

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