While the media spotlight on clergy sexual abuse of minors continues to raise awareness of the ongoing issue in the Catholic Church, the problem extends beyond priests and bishops. With more survivors filing civil lawsuits against their abusers in those states now permitting individuals to bring claims under reformed statute of limitations, other abusers are coming under scrutiny.
State grand jury investigations have resulted in some states reforming their statutes of limitations with respect to sexual abuse claims. The statute of limitations sets forth the amount of time in which an individual must file a claim. In the past, if a sexual abuse survivor failed to file a claim within a few years after the abuse occurred, they were barred from ever seeking justice and compensation for the abuse. This has begun to change in many states.
In New York, the legislature passed the Child Victims Act, which allows survivors of childhood sexual abuse to file lawsuits against any New York organization regardless of how long ago the abuse occurred. New Jersey also revised its statute, and, like New York, also opened a “window” permitting lawsuits. The New Jersey “window” opens December 1, 2019 and closes December 1, 2021. Lawsuits filed during the window period will be timely regardless of when the abuse occurred. While a majority of these new suits continue to name Catholic Church figures as defendants, an increasing number of lawsuits are being filed against other organizations associated with children.
A review of recently filed cases under New York’s Child Victims Act reveals other types of organizations in which child sexual abuse can occur.
These named defendants included:
Many new suits are expected to be filed against the Boy Scouts of America in light of recently discovered “perversion files” and a confidential blacklist of Boy Scout staff and volunteers suspected of sexual abuse of minors. Survivors of this abuse are gradually coming forth in light of the relaxed statute of limitations. Court records in similar cases revealed that more than 12,000 children may have been abused in the Boy Scout organization as far back as the 1940s.
All organizations working with children have a legal duty to keep those children safe from physical and sexual abuse. When this does not occur, the organization can be held legally liable for its negligence. By filing a civil lawsuit against those organizations who failed to protect survivors from the abuse, child sexual abuse survivors can seek justice.
At Williams Cedar, our experienced Trenton clergy abuse lawyers work with childhood sexual abuse survivors to ensure their legal rights are protected. We understand the trauma that results from childhood sexual abuse. It is our job to help you obtain the compensation you need to move forward with your life. Our offices are conveniently located in Philadelphia and Haddonfield, New Jersey, allowing us to serve clergy abuse survivors and their families throughout New Jersey, including those in Trenton, Camden, and Metuchen and in Pennsylvania including those in Allenton, Scranton, Pittsburgh, Harrisburg, Greensburg, Johnstown, Erie, and Wilkes-Barre. If you or a loved one has survived clergy abuse, call us today to schedule a free confidential consultation at 215-557-0099 or 856-470-9777 or contact us online.