New Jersey Law Opens the Door for a Wave of Sexual Abuse Claims
The Star Tribune reported that in the wake of “loosening of limits on sexual abuse claims,” New Jersey can expect a wave of lawsuits filed by people taking advantage of the new law’s provisions. The new law gives victims a unique opportunity to hold their abusers accountable and exposes “a broader spectrum of institutions” exposure to liability.
New Jersey, like many states, recently overhauled its statutes of limitations related to criminal and civil sexual abuse cases. These changes came after last year’s report by a Pennsylvania grand jury. That report found that there were thousands of children sexually abused by Catholic priests and that the Catholic church went to great lengths to cover up the abuse.
New Jersey Law Gives Previously Barred Sexual Abuse Victims, Two Years to File Claims
The law allows child victims until the age of 55 to sue their sexual abusers or within seven years of becoming aware of sexual abuse. Adult sexual abuse victims have seven years from the discovery of the abuse.
Perhaps the essential provision of the new law is the look-back period. Victims who were previously barred under the old statute of limitations, have a two -year window during which to file claims against their sexual abusers.
Churches and Scouts Inundated with Claims
According to the Star Tribune, the Roman Catholic Church and Boy Scouts of America “have already been inundated” with sexual abuse lawsuits after similar laws passed in other states. But, as a lawyer speaking to the Tribune explained, New Jersey’s new law widens the scope of potential liability to other institutions by making it easier for victims to pursue legal remedies.
For one particular victim, the new law means that at age 40, after realizing a counselor abused him at a juvenile home as a child; he has the chance to “settle some things.”
New Jersey’s previous law allowed victims of sexual abuse to file claims against individuals or institutions acting in loco parentis, only if the alleged abuse occurred within the household. This provision of the law has been removed.
What does this mean for victims of sexual abuse in New Jersey? It means that it is now easier to file a lawsuit against a public school, camp, church, club, or any organization that acts in place of a parent. The Boy Scouts and the Catholic Church are facing the brunt of sexual abuse claims.
Nonetheless, it is estimated that about one-quarter of victims of sexual abuse are seeking to collect damages from other institutions.
Contact Our Lawyers Representing Victims of Sexual Abuse in New Jersey
Call our lawyers at Alonso Krangle, LLP, to find out more about your eligibility to file a sexual abuse claim. You may be able to collect damages from your abuser and the institution that protected him or her. Contact us at 800-403-6191 for a free evaluation of your New Jersey sexual abuse case.