Levy Konigsberg Partner Anna Kull was recently featured in an article discussing her work representing survivors in a growing number of sexual abuse lawsuits filed under the New York Adult Survivors Act.
As reported by Prism, Anna and our firm represent hundreds of survivors in civil lawsuits made possible by the NY Adult Survivors Act, a groundbreaking law that created a one-time lookback window for sexual abuse survivors to file civil lawsuits regardless of how long ago their abuse occurred.
This includes hundreds of claims filed on behalf of women who were sexually abused by guards and other staff in New York jails and prisons, including two women whose stories and experiences working with Anna and our firm were recently profiled in “Life After Abuse in Prison,” a web documentary produced by Brut America.
Speaking with Prism, Anna discussed how the Adult Survivors Act has created important opportunities for sexual abuse survivors, not only by allowing them to file claims for compensation against institutions that failed to protect them but also by emboldening them to share their stories and help expand our collective understanding about abuse, which many survivors take years or decades to fully process.
The flood of survivors who are now filing claims under the Adult Survivors Act has also helped expose systemic issues in places like NY women’s jails and prisons. As noted by Kull, our firm has heard from hundreds of women who, despite being incarcerated in different prisons or even in different decades, have recounted shared experiences of being abused by guards and intimidated into staying silent. Some have brought claims against repeat offenders who have been allowed to abuse inmates for years without consequences. As she told Prism:
“Even with the research that I have done on these issues, I was still astounded to see how many survivors were coming forward. Mostly because so many of these survivors are recounting very similar experiences, and in many cases, they are also recounting abuse by the same individuals.”
The article goes on to discuss the types of abusive and intimidating conduct endured by female inmates, and how guards routinely used their positions of authority to engage inmates in sexual activity, conceal their abuse, and keep victims silent. As noted by Prism, these issues have been reported by women incarcerated at jails and prisons throughout the state.
The article also touches on the difficulties survivors face when it comes to reporting sexual abuse, and how those difficulties are magnified for inmates who face deep power disparities with their abusers and assumptions about their credibility:
“In sexual assault cases—especially under these circumstances where the woman is in prison, and the assailant is the authority figure—many times the victim is the exclusive source of the facts, and so her credibility is of paramount importance. And when that is questioned from the door, women are less likely to come forward.”
You can read the full Prism article featuring quotes from Anna Kull here.
Anna Kull is a Partner at Levy Konigsberg. As Lead Attorney of our firm’s sexual abuse team, she has championed the rights of survivors across the country in claims against the Catholic Church, Boy Scouts of America, public and private prison systems, and other powerful institutions. Her work representing survivors in claims made possible by the Adult Survivors Act has been widely covered in the media, including the Brutally Informed podcast, a New York Daily News cover story, the Buffalo News, and the short documentary film, “A Chance for Justice: Life After Abuse in Prison.”