The extension of the limitation period for child victims of sexual abuse under the Child Victims Act (“CVA”) is constitutional and does not violate the Due Process Clause

New York



Olympic Athlete Sexual Abuse Allegations Move Forward In Farrell v. The United States Olympic & Paralympic Comm., 1:20-CV-1178 (FJS/CFH) (N.D.N.Y. Oct. 15, 2021), former Olympic speed skater, Birdie Farrell, filed a lawsuit alleging that her former teammate and mentor sexually abused her when she was a 15-year-old training for the 1998 Olympics.One of the defendants, Andrew Gabel, who Farrell accused of sexually abusing her, argued that the Child Victims Act (“CVA”) was unconstitutional. His position was that the CVA does not pass New York’s test for extending statutes of limitations and that the CVA violated his right to Due Process.The United States District Court for the Northern District of New York rejected Gabel’s argument. The Court noted that a claim-revival statute will satisfy the Due Process Clause of the State Constitution if it was enacted as a reasonable response to remedy an injustice.The Court held that the CVA is a revival statute that presents a reasonable, non-arbitrary response designed to remedy an injustice. The CVA’s claim-revival provision reflects the New York State Legislature’s desire to correct a perceived injustice, i.e., that the statute of limitations for certain claims expiring before child victims of sexual abuse recovered from past traumas to a degree sufficient to assert their rights.As a result, the CVA does not violate either the New York or federal Due Process Clauses.The Court dismissed Gabel’s motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim.

April 14, 2022
Farrell v. The United States Olympic & Paralympic Comm., 1:20-CV-1178 (FJS/CFH) (N.D.N.Y. Oct. 15, 2021)
New York Courts