Diddy to Adams: Why are sexual abuse cases stacking up against NY celebs in Nov?
The Adult Survivors Act was passed by New York lawmakers as the Me Too movement gained momentum, and took effect on November 24, 2022
Several high-profile sexual assault lawsuits were filed in New York this week before a law that temporarily lifted the statute of limitations on civil abuse and harassment claims expired. Among the list of defendants are New York Mayor Eric Adams, music mogul Sean “Diddy” Combs and rock legend Axl Rose. Should the claims against these people not be settled or dismissed, they could face jury trials.
The Adult Survivors Act was passed by New York lawmakers as the Me Too movement gained momentum. It took effect on November 24, 2022, and expired this week on Thursday, November 23.
What is the Adult Survivors Act?
According to Governor Kathy Hochul’s website, the act “will empower survivors of sexual offenses that occurred when they were over the age of 18. The one-year window will begin six months from signing and will allow survivors to sue regardless of the statute of limitations. For many survivors, it may take years to come to terms with the trauma of sexual assault and feel ready to seek justice against an abuser, while possibly experiencing fear of retaliation or shame.”
The website adds, “In 2019, New York extended the statute of limitations to 20 years for adults filing civil lawsuits for a select number of sex crimes. However, that legislation only affected new cases and was not retroactive.”
President Donald Trump was the first person to be sued under the law for allegedly sexually abusing New York author E. Jean Carroll in the 1990s. He was reportedly ordered to pay $5 million in damages.
Who are the defendants in suits filed this week?
Among many defendants who were named in last week’s suits is Eric Adams, against whom a 5 million lawsuit was filed by a woman who accused him of assaulting her in 1993, while the two of them were working for the City of New York. “The claims brought here allege intentional and negligent acts and omissions for physical, psychological, and other injuries suffered as a result of conduct that would constitute sexual offenses,” the suit said. Adams has denied the allegations.
Andrew Cuomo’s former executive assistant, Brittany Commisso, has alleged that the former Governor groped her breast and buttocks, claiming she suffered “substantial personal injuries and economic loss” as a result of the alleged abuse. “The continuous sexual harassment by defendant Cuomo included unwelcome sexual advances, sexualized comments about appearance and personal matters, relations, their dating, their sex life, and her marriage, assignment of humiliating and demeaning tasks, hugs, kisses, sexual touching of the buttocks, and forcible touching of the breast,” the suit said. Cuomo, too, has denied the allegations.
Music Mogul Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs is also on the list. A suit filed on Thankgiving Day accuses him to drugging and raping a Syracuse University student during a date in 1991. Joi Dickerson-Neal claimed she suffered “substantial and lifetime injuries” from the abuse. She also claimed that the assault was recorded by Combs, who shared it with other men. A spokesperson for Combs dismissed the allegations as “not credible.”
California actress and model Sheila Kennedy filed a suit accusing Axl Rose of assaulting her in 1989. The complaint said that the Guns N’ Roses singer “used his fame, status, and power as a celebrity and performer in the music industry to gain access to manipulate, control, and violently sexually assault Kennedy.” Rose’s lawyer said that the claims were “fictional.”
South African model Caron Bernstein filed a suit against fashion photographer Terry Richardson. She accused him of forcing her into oral sex at his studio in 2003. She alleged that Richardson assaulted her in front of various male agents, employees and models. The complaint alleges that he photographed the assault and published the photos without her consent. Further, Spanish model Minerva Portillo filed a separate suit against Richardson, accusing him of two sexual assaults in 2004.