New York City Mayor Eric Adams, pictured here, is one of many now facing a lawsuit for alleged past sexual assaults, courtesy of the Adult Survivors Act. (Credit: Krystalb97, Wikimedia Commons)

A rare opportunity was afforded to sexual assault survivors – and they made the most of it.

The Adult Survivors Act in New York state gave victims a one-year grace period in which to file civil sexual misconduct suits against their accused, regardless of when the alleged attacks took place. In all, over 3,000 suits were filed ahead of the November 2023 deadline.

Among those named in these suits were current New York City Mayor Eric Adams, former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, music mogul Sean “Diddy” Combs and Aerosmith lead singer Steven Tyler. Numerous other notable figures were served, too.

“The mission of the Adult Survivors Act – allowing survivors of sexual abuse the opportunity to speak their truth in court and seek redress – has been realized,” bill sponsor Linda Rosenthal, a state assemblywoman from New York City, told The New York Times.

The law, also sponsored by Sen. Brad Hoylman-Sigal, was modeled after the state’s Child Victims Act, which offered the same opportunity to those who were harmed before their 18th birthdays. (Hoylman-Sigal also sponsored that piece of legislation.)

It’s not the only localized policy offering such opportunities to longstanding victims. In New York City, a similar window of opportunity exists for victims, and will remain open until March 2025. And a second, similar law was enacted at the start of 2023 in California. There, complainants have until Dec. 31 of this year to file suits in the interest of “justice and closure.”

Both Rosenthal and Hoylman-Sigal are now hoping for approval on a one-year extension to the Adult Survivors Act deadline. Not everyone is in favor, though – making for a fight ahead. Republican assemblyman Will Barclay, the body’s minority leader, told the Times that “unilaterally erasing the threshold would necessitate a deeper discussion, ideally with all stakeholders within the justice system.”

Other lawmakers and experts, however, including sexual abuse and trafficking attorney Michael Lamonsoff, support the idea of giving people more time to file.

As he noted to Spectrum News: “Survivors go through a lot before they come to the conclusion that it’s not their fault, they did nothing wrong and they want to do something about it.”