The theft of childhood innocence is outrageous on its own accord. However, victims of clergy sex abuse face an additional hardship. The burden should be on the church to protect its youth. How sad that those charged with that protection – are often the perpetrators. Without question, there is no valid excuse.
Most recently, a Pennsylvania Grand Jury brought to light the many cases of clergy sex abuse throughout the state. The report contains pages and pages of accounts involving all types of sexual abuse, from unwanted fondling to forced penetration. The stories date back decades and were covered up for years. Often, priests were relocated to other parishes – where they continued to conduct the immoral acts with new victims.
There’s a chance that a great many did not recognize the extent of the problem. Some did not come forward, as they were ashamed. Others have awakened repressed memories as a result of news reports. One would hope it would never be too late to insist on criminal charges – or assert claims for monetary damages. However, for some, the time to “get their day in court” may have expired.
Although that may be the case for some Pennsylvania clergy sex abuse victims, it may be different in New Jersey. The Pennsylvania Grand Jury has opened the floodgates. New Jersey has announced its own investigations. Will their laws make it easier for victims to pursue legal action?
New Jersey Laws and Clergy Sex Abuse
Like other jurisdictions, New Jersey already has experienced its share of clergy sex abuse allegations. In the meantime, according to news reports, a new hotline has already received an onslaught of calls making claims against priests within the various New Jersey dioceses. New Jersey has also created a special task force to look into both the reports of abuse and the subsequent cover-ups.
Most recently, Cardinal Theodore McCarrick resigned from the priesthood because of claims against him. The allegations include decades of sex abuse involving minor children. Additionally, during his time as the former Archbishop of Newark, McCarrick reportedly abused adult seminarians.
In the past, over thirty alleged victims have made claims against thirteen monks who taught at the Delbarton School in Morristown. One lay teacher was also implicated in these cases that have been acknowledged by the school.
New Jersey laws are different when it comes to the statute of limitations. NJSA 2A:61B-1 (b) states that the time limits for civil cases “ for injury or illness based on sexual abuse… shall accrue at the time of reasonable discovery of the injury and its causal relationship to the act of sexual abuse.” There is a two-year limitation after the time of reasonable discovery.”
At Fellerman & Ciarimboli, we are watching the New Jersey investigations into clergy sex abuse. If you or a loved one has been victimized in New Jersey, we will gladly refer you for appropriate action. Contact us to discuss your situation so that we may offer our assistance.
With more than 40 years of combined experience, the personal injury attorneys at Fellerman & Ciarimboli strive to provide the best service to clients in Philadelphia, Northeast Pennsylvania, and throughout the Keystone State.