New Sexual Abuse Charges Arise as New Jersey Child Victims Act Goes into Effect
The New Jersey Child Victims Act recently went effect. The law not only opens a two-year period for individuals in New Jersey to file child abuse/sexual assault claims against institutions and individuals; even if those claims were already dismissed because they were late; but also expands the statute of limitations for victims to bring child sexual abuse allegations until age 55, or until seven years from when they became aware of their injury (whichever is later).
Meanwhile, a state task force continues to investigate allegations of clergy abuse specifically in New Jersey. Since the State Attorney General formed the task force, the state has secured prison terms against priests and former priests on sexual assault charges and in New Jersey, both of whom were accused of sexually abusing children. The task force has no real limitations because there is no criminal statute of limitations on sexual abuse.
New Charges & Lawsuits
The rationale behind allowing victims of childhood sexual abuse to bring forth their allegations is that children are often prevented from disclosing this abuse until years later. According to reports, as soon as the law went into effect, almost 50 new cases were filed, with hundreds more expected in the coming weeks. In addition, reports indicate that the New Jersey Clergy Abuse Hotline has received more than 560 calls as of December. Dozens of lawsuits have since been filed against the Boy Scouts of America, local Catholic dioceses, and other organizations.
There is no question that the law is expected to make a number of organizations and other entities now liable for allegations that they may have otherwise been immune to. As a result, attorneys who represent a variety of entities that could possibly be the subject of these allegations are thus advising them to be prepared to defend against such allegations by preserving any and all relevant documents for a significant amount of time.
Consult A New Jersey Criminal Defense Attorney to Ensure That You Are Protected
If you or your organization is being charged with sexual assault, or you have any questions about the new law and how it works, as well as how you should protect your organization against charges, contact our New York criminal defense attorneys at the office of Phillip J. Murphy today to find out how we can help provide you with the very best legal advice and protection. There are a number of important caveats to the law that should be thoroughly discussed, such as what happens to private agreements that have settled sexual abuse claims. If you run an organization and/or are an employer, you should be prepared for a potential outpouring of new allegations and complaints from past conduct.