Childhood sex abuse cases will now be heard even if abuse happened decades ago

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Attorneys are calling it a historic moment.

Childhood sex abuse survivors will now be able to have their cases heard even if the abuse happened decades ago.

Jeffrey Eskridge told News 12 he was molested by a priest when he was 15. Over the years he carried a heavy weight, but he says the Child Victims Act will allow him to have peace after years of pain.

Eskridge said he struggled with drug and alcoholic addiction and became homeless at the age of 15. He decided to get clean at a shelter called Our Fathers House in Bedford-Stuyvesant, which is no longer there.

This is where Eskridge said Father John Nugent raped him.

After the alleged abuse, his addiction spiraled out of control before getting clean in 2003. The previous Child Victims Act law only allowed child sex abuse offenses to be prosecuted five years after the crime and civil lawsuits within three years of the survivor's 18th birthday.

The change now allows a one-year window for anyone who suffered child sex abuse to file a civil lawsuit no matter when it happened.

Criminal charges can be pursued on a case by case basis. Also, moving forward, survivors have a much longer window of time to take action against their abusers.

For Eskridge it's about healing not money.

Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio, of the Diocese of Brooklyn, said in a statement, "For anyone abused by a priest, employee or volunteer, I am sorry that a member of our church who you trusted became the source of pain and anguish. You should know the Diocese of Brooklyn has instituted the most aggressive policies to prevent any future abuse and to protect children."

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