Church Sex Abuse in New Jersey: Time for Victims to Fight Back
Following a groundbreaking Pennsylvania grand jury report in 2018, New Jersey lawmakers launched their own investigation into the state’s Roman Catholic dioceses. That investigation, along with growing support for victims amid high-profile cases and social movements, sparked several important events:
- Naming Accused Priests – On February 13, the New Jersey Catholic Dioceses released the names of 188 priests and deacons who have been credibly accused of sexually abusing minors over recent decades. These individuals come from all five NJ dioceses, including the Archdiocese of Newark, and Dioceses of Trenton, Paterson, Metuchen, and Camden. While it is a step in the right direction, the names were released only after the Church came under investigation, and does not entail all records related to abuse accusations.
- Dioceses Compensation Fund – NJ Dioceses created an independent compensation fund for sexual abuse victims. While the fund may work for some, it does not cover all victims, nor does it provide full transparency into what the Church knew and when. Civil legal action may be an option for many survivors, and one which provides more robust compensation, and more meaningful insight into the scope of abuse and the Church’s conduct.
- Statute of Limitations Extended – On March 25, New Jersey lawmakers passed S-477, a measure which expands the state’s statute of limitations in most sex abuse claims from 2 years to 7 years. The bill allows adults who were abused as minors to bring civil lawsuits against individuals or intuitions, including non-profits, until age 55 or until 7 years after they “discover” links between abusive acts and their emotional injuries. The measure will also provide an additional 2 years for victims previously barred by the statute of limitations to bring claims.
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By pursuing a civil sexual abuse claim with the support of Levinson Axelrod, P.A., victims and families can be confident knowing they have proven advocates and resources on their side. That’s particularly important when taking on powerful entities like the New Jersey Catholic Dioceses, as well as any religious organization, school, youth group, or entity which failed to ensure the safety of members.
To learn more about civil sexual abuse claims, your rights, and how our firm may be able to help you through the journey ahead, call (732) 365-0122 today.