Victims of sexual abuse in the US state of New York can now sue over allegations dating back decades.
The Adult Survivors Act, which went into effect on Thursday, gives victims a one-year window to file lawsuits that would have otherwise expired under the statute of limitations.
E Jean Carroll, a writer, was among the first to sue under the act, accusing Donald Trump of raping her in the 1990s.
Mr. Trump has denied her claims.
Ms Carroll, a writer, claims the attack occurred in a luxury department store dressing room in New York 27 years ago.
New York’s Adult Survivors Act allows victims to come forward if the sexual assault occurred when they were over the age of 18 and took place on a date that exceeds time limit that exists on most felonies.
It is modelled after the state’s recent Child Abuse Act, which applied to victims who were abused as minors.
The Child Abuse Act, which came into effect in 2019, allowed a two-year period for victims to come forward. Around 11,000 lawsuits were filed in New York against churches, hospitals, schools, camps and other institutions under that act.
Ms Carroll has also sued former president Trump for defamation after he accused her of lying when she first made her allegations public in 2019. Mr Trump has called Ms Carroll’s claims “fiction”. A civil trial for that case is scheduled for 6 February.
In a statement to media, Ms Carroll’s attorney, Roberta Kaplan, said the new lawsuit filed on Thursday is intended to hold Mr Trump accountable for the alleged assault.
Others are also planning to file lawsuits under the new Adult Survivors Act.
This includes a planned class action lawsuit against Robert Hadden, a former gynaecologist at hospitals tied to New York-Presbyterian and Columbia University, who has been accused by dozens of patients of sexual abuse.
Mr Hadden was convicted in 2016 on sex-related charges in state court but has pleaded not guilty to federal charges of abusing female patients over two decades.
Advocates for survivors of sex abuse believe the legislation provides an opportunity for people to come forward who may not have done so previously due to trauma or fear of retaliation.
Several other states have also extended or temporarily eliminated their statues of limitation on sex crimes in the wake of the #MeToo in 2018, including New Jersey, California, Arizona and Montana.