Sexual Abuse

Sexual abuse, or molestation, is defined as the use of “force” to make another person engage in sexual behavior.

What do we mean by “force”? The law will consider “force” to include:

  1. Forcible Compulsion – The threat of, or actual physical force, on the victim or a third party.
  2. Physically Helpless – The victim is physically unable to express a lack of consent due to a physical disability.
  3. Age of Consent – According to New York law, anybody under the age of seventeen is incapable of consenting.
  4. Mentally Disabled or Incapacitated – If the victim is temporarily or permanently unable to comprehend the nature of their conduct.

“Sexual Abuse” can include various acts such as:

  1. Sexual Intercourse
  2. Deviant Sex Acts
  3. Sexual Contact
  4. Forcible Touching
  5. Aggravated Sexual Contact

Sexual Abuse is a very serious matter that is, unfortunately, not uncommon. If you, or anyone you know, has ever been victim to this horrific crime, contact a Personal Injury Lawyer who is experienced in cases in this area of law.

To get some more information about sexual abuse, visit,


SEXUAL ABUSE | Long Island City Attorney



We have previously reported regarding efforts in the New York State Legislature to open up a one year “window of opportunity” to victims of childhood sexual abuse. It would have extended the Statute of Limitations on bringing “civil” lawsuits so that virtually anyone, at any age, that suffered sexual abuse, could sue, regardless of the number of years that have passed since the abuse occurred.

Unfortunately, we can now report that for the FIFTH year, the legislation intended to expand the rights of child sex abuse victims has died in the New York Legislature.

The hope on the part of proponents of the legislation was that with the increased outrage over new developments regarding clergy sexual abuse coming to light in the Catholic Church in Europe, that public opinion here would lead to passage. That assessment was wrong.

Since 2002, fifteen states have proposed such legislation. Only Delaware and California have actually passed it. In New York, the legislation “died” in the State Senate committee that deals with that area of law. The legislation is known as the “CHILD VICTIMS ACT.” Sponsors will continue to attempt to get it passed in the future.

Some opponents did indicate that while they opposed eliminating the Statute of Limitations on civil child abuse cases, which could bankrupt some organizations, they would favor lifting the Statute of Limitations on criminal cases so that abusers could be prosecuted.


Sexual Abuse: Pedophile Pediatiricians | Brooklyn Personal Injury Attorney



It would be hard to imagine something as repugnant as members of the clergy participating in, and countenancing, the sexual abuse of those they counsel and to whom they provide spiritual guidance.   If exceed that we must, we only have to look at the cases of sexual abuse coming to light now involving pediatricians and their patients, ranging in age from 2 years to teenage.

As with priests in the Catholic Church, physicians who become aware of these gross violations of professional conduct by their colleagues invariably seek the removal of that colleague from their practice, and condone the fact that those pedophiles simply relocate to another practice.

The continued participation by the pedophile physicians in their abominable activities would seem to be preferable to fellow physicians than pursuing avenues that would certainly lead to removal from the practice of medicine and probable criminal prosecution.   The welfare of the young patients, as was the case with the welfare of young parishioners, is of secondary importance !  The “code of silence,” it would seem, crosses professional boundaries.

Within just the past few months, what is possibly the single worst case of physician pedophilia came to light in Delaware.  Dr. Earl Bradley was accused of sexually abusing more than 100 children. The accusations ranged from oral sex to rape, and his history is one of willful ignorance and repeated inaction by professional colleagues and police.

Outrageous and illegal activity such as that which is described should not go without some recourse for the victims. The effects of this conduct will likely last a lifetime, and the pain and suffering visited upon these young people in  their most tender years should not go uncompensated.  While the pedophile himself may be “judgment proof,” those from whom the victim or his or her family seek legal help will, if adequately experienced, be in a position to seek out other sources that contributed in some way to the offenses that occurred and who are, themselves, susceptible to providing the compensation to which the victim is entitled.
For more information on what to do if you or a loved one has been sexually abused in New York , contact The Orlow Firm online or at 800-LAW-NYNY.

Statute of Limitations Reform: Abuse Victims | Brooklyn Personal Injury Attorney


In a recent New York Times article, Lawrence Lessig, a law professor at Harvard, noted the continuing role of the Catholic Church in opposing any change in New York State’s Statute of Limitations with respect to the ability of Sexual Abuse victims seeking redress for the harm they suffered.

Professor Lessig pointed out that New York has one of the most restrictive Statute of Limitations when it comes to child sexual abuse.  New York law requires a person to bring a lawsuit involving sexual abuse within five years of reaching their 18th birthday, or forever be barred from bringing such a lawsuit.

Three times the New York State Assembly has passed legislation altering that law.

Assemblywoman Margaret Markey has attempted to extend the Statute to allow a lawsuit TEN years following the 18th birthday and, additionally, to allow a ONE YEAR WINDOW, during which anyone, of any age, could bring a lawsuit for sexual abuse.  The New York State Senate has repeatedly refused to follow the Assembly’s example in passing such legislation.

According to Professor Lessig, “At the core of the opposition to this bill is heavy lobbying by the New York Catholic Conference (which)…has hired top dollar lobbyists to kill the bill.”   The object of the Catholic Conference is an attempt to protect the Church from the loss of significant wealth resulting from the inevitable avalanche of lawsuits.  Of course, this will also result in hundreds, if not thousands, of victims being barred from receiving compensation for the harm they suffered.

Strip Searches In New York Schools | Zero Tolerance in the NYC school system |

Are Strip Searches Allowed in New York Schools?

Increasing violence and other illegal activity occurring in our schools has seen the proliferation of “ZERO TOLERANCE” policies in many New York schools and in entire school districts around our nation. These policies, of necessity, very often involve the search of a student by New York school officials who seek to find out if the prohibited item, whether a weapon or an illegal drug, is in the student’s possession.

The question arises as to when such a search is permissible and, even more seriously, how intrusive may that search become. In June, 2009, the United States Supreme Court decided a case involving a 13 year old school girl (Susan). Another student had accused Susan of giving her drugs. The suspicion was that Susan had brought prescription strength ibuprofen to school. School officials (two females) ordered Susan to strip to her underwear, and then pull her upper and lower undergarments away from her body to see if the suspected drug was on Susan’s person. The judge that wrote the opinion for the court called this search an “…embarrassing, frightening and humiliating search…..” The decision of the Court did not give school officials a clear cut guideline to determine if a strip search is permissible. It rather set forth some guidelines that may well continue to make it very difficult for school officials in the future to decide whether or not a strip search would run afoul of the law. The guidelines the Court seemed to establish as factors:
–the extent of the danger of the contraband in question (for example: ibuprofen vs. heroin);
–how well founded is the suspicion that the contraband is hidden in an intimate place.

As Justice Souter wrote in deciding that this particular search was Constitutionally ILLEGAL:: “The content of the suspicion failed to match the degree of the intrusion” especially in light of the “nature and limited threat of the specific drugs.”Some school districts, such as the New York City Department of Education, simplify matters and ban such strip searches under any and all circumstances. Do keep in mind that as far as searches in general (not just strip searches) are concerned, the Constitutional requirements to allow a search by school officials (“a moderate chance of finding evidence of wrongdoing”) are LESS demanding than those that must be followed by the police (“Probable Cause”). Even an attempt to simplify this area of law, as we tried to do here, indicates the potential complexity involved when dealing with searches of all kinds. The services of a well seasoned New York City attorney, knowledgeable through experience in this difficult area of law, at as early a stage as possible, is invaluable in protecting your rights.


Clergy Sexual Abuse in the Orthodox Jewish Community

While sexual abuse claims have been rampant among clergy affiliated with the Catholic Church over the past many years, the clergy of all other religions are not immune from these allegations.

The Borough of Brooklyn in New York City hosts one of the largest concentrations of Jews in the United States. On average some 700 child sexual abuse cases are brought each year by the Brooklyn District Attorney. There were some years when only one or two, or even no such cases were brought involving any of the so-called “ultra orthodox” Jews (including the approximately 180,000 Hasidic Jews) in Brooklyn. To what can we attribute this apparent absence of pedophilia among ultra orthodox Jews that exists in the rest of the population? Was there something inherent, or cultural, or educational, that made this community immune from this aberration?

The reality is that historically, this segment of the population keep strict, unrelenting separation of their lives from the secular world around them. Matters are referred to rabbinical courts, rather than to civil courts, and issues that would otherwise become known are maintained within the community itself. Times, however, are changing, at least in terms of this heinous offense. With publicity all around them showing the secular population trying to deal with the issue of pedophilia abuse cases in New York, there are those in this insulated community that believe the ability of their own community to respond appropriately an adequately, both to the perpetrator and to the needs of the victim, is non-existent. The result: community taboos against going to, and relying upon, civil authorities, are being overcome. Nevertheless, the veneration for the rabbis and the “yeshivas” in the community remain potent and nearly inviolable.

For the attorney dealing in these type of highly sensitive cases, it is mandatory to be sensitive to both the emotional needs of the individual client, and as importantly, to helping the client maintain his or her place, and reputation, in their community. The “Shomer Shabbos” or “frum” community is tight knit. It is guided by concepts, rules and strictures that have enabled it to maintain its identity through the most unimaginably difficult times. It is no easy matter to go outside well established boundaries. The New York City personal injury attorneys representing such individuals must do all that they can to work within the restrictions presented, while gaining the relief to which their client is entitled.


Foster Care Abuse

It is a sad fact that so many of the children in the foster care system are victims of physical and sexual abuse.  Children who are in the foster care system are there in the first place because they either have no parents, or their natural parents have failed them.  These children are probably the most vulnerable members of our society and in the greatest need of our care and protection. It is, therefore, that much more of a tragedy when such a child is abused in a foster home.  The government places the responsibility of caring for these children in the hands of the Foster Care Agencies.  The Foster Care Agency then finds an appropriate foster home for the child and places them there to live temporarily, until the child can move on; either moving back with the natural parent, getting adopted, etc. It is the responsibility of the Foster Care Agency to make sure the home the child is placed in is suitable and safe, and that the foster parents are people who will treat the children appropriately.  It is also the responsibility of the Foster Care Agency to closely monitor the children while they remain in the foster home.  This is no easy task, but it is crucial for the wellbeing of the foster child. After all, if there is something improper going on in the home there is nobody else in the world who that child can turn to for help; there is no one else who is responsible for that child other than the Foster Care Agency.  Once the abuse does take place, of course the effects of that abuse usually stay with the victim for a lifetime. For any person who was the victim of abuse in a foster home, even if the abuse took place many years ago, it is important to contact an attorney who represents abuse victims and can investigate whether the Foster Care Agency conducted a proper placement in the home and properly supervised the parents and the child while in the home.

Statements by Adam Orlow, Esq. as quoted in “Suite 101 On-line Magazine:
Abuse in foster homes is a serious problem. Adam Orlow, Esq., is a New York City attorney who has almost five years of experience helping former foster children seek compensation. He passionately believes that when children are placed into care, they need a foster home that is adequate and safe. He says that the screening process for foster parents must be tighter.

Adam Orlow further stated, “Case workers need greater supervision, preferably by an independent body.” He also recommends that in addition to closely monitoring the case workers, having the workers conduct unscheduled visits to foster homes is essential. Orlow adds, “Too many times there is a lack of supervision.” Read more…

Posted by New York Personal Injury Attorney Adam Orlow