E Jean Carroll, a writer, has filed a lawsuit against Donald Trump in the US state of New York for allegedly raping her in the 1990s.
Ms Carroll, 78, is one of the first people to file a lawsuit under the Adult Survivors Act, which went into effect on Thursday.
The state law provides victims with a one-year period in which to file sexual assault lawsuits in New York for claims that would otherwise have exceeded statute limitations.
The allegations against the former president have been denied.
Ms Carroll claims the attack occurred in a luxury department store dressing room in New York 27 years ago.
The Adult Survivors Act allows victims to come forward if the sexual assault occurred when they were over the age of 18 and occurred on a date that exceeded the time limits that most felonies have.
It is based on the state’s recent Child Abuse Act, which applied to victims who were abused when they were minors.
The Child Abuse Act, which went into effect in 2019, gave victims two years to come forward. Under that law, approximately 11,000 lawsuits were filed in New York against churches, hospitals, schools, camps, and other institutions.
Ms Carroll has also filed a defamation suit against former President Trump after he accused her of lying when she first made her allegations public in 2019. Mr. Trump dismissed Ms. Carroll’s claims as “fiction.” A civil trial in that case is set for February 6th.
Ms Carroll’s attorney, Roberta Kaplan, stated in a statement that the new lawsuit filed on Thursday is intended to hold Mr Trump accountable for the alleged assault.
Alina Habba, Mr Trump’s lawyer, told US media that while she respects and admires those who come forward, “this case is unfortunately an abuse of the purpose of this Act” and “risks undermining the credibility of actual victims.”
Others are planning to sue under the new law as well.
This includes a planned class action lawsuit against Robert Hadden, a former gynecologist at New York-Presbyterian and Columbia University hospitals who has been accused of sexual abuse by dozens of patients.
Mr Hadden was convicted in state court of sex-related charges in 2016, but has pleaded not guilty to federal charges of sexually abusing female patients over a two-decade period.
Advocates for sex abuse survivors believe the legislation will allow people to come forward who may not have done so previously due to trauma or fear of retaliation.
Several other states, including New Jersey, California, Arizona, and Montana, have also extended or temporarily eliminated their statutes of limitations on sex crimes in the aftermath of the #MeToo movement in 2018.
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