Sexual abuse of any kind is horrific, but the sexual abuse of children is one of the most heinous criminal acts committed and one that happens with shocking frequency. Abuse is generally perpetrated by someone in a position of power, which—for children—includes any trusted adult.
Until recent years, few adults were trusted more than religious leaders, including priests, ministers, and pastors. As a result of this imbalance in power, and the blind faith of many parents to entrust the care of their children to clergy members, young kids were an easy target for sexual predators hiding under the protection of religious institutions.
According to the U.S. Department of Justice’s National Sex Offender Public Website, approximately 30 percent of cases involving sexual assault are actually reported. That means that 70 percent of sexual assault victims suffer in silence, and their abusers go unpunished.
At Kreizer Law, we believe that all sexual abusers, especially those who target vulnerable children, should be brought to justice and held accountable for their actions.
If you have been the victim of clergy or any kind of sexual abuse, contact an experienced New Jersey clergy abuse attorney today at 1‑(800)-4-JUSTICE® –1-(800)-458-7842 for a free and confidential consultation about your case.
NJ Passes Victims’ Rights Bill
Although nothing can undo the pain of sexual abuse, bringing your abuser to justice and obtaining the compensation you deserve can help immensely with the healing process. Fortunately, New Jersey has recently enacted legislation in favor of sexual abuse victims.
Following the abuse accusations of 188 priests and deacons in NJ last year, the Victims’ Rights bill effectively changed NJ’s statute of limitations for sexual abuse claims. Regardless of when your abuse occurred, a new two-year lookback period gives victims until December 1, 2021, to file a claim of clergy sexual abuse.
In February 2019, five New Jersey Catholic dioceses released the names of clergy who have been credibly accused of sexually abusing children, with some of the reports dating back to 1940. For many of these victims, the abuse occurred so long ago that the statute of limitations had passed, meaning they could no longer bring a lawsuit against their abusers, or the institutions that sheltered them.
“Some of the most powerful priests of our diocese, with the most authority, are on this list. Rising all the way to the Vatican,” said Father John Bambrick of the diocese of Trenton.
Fortunately, the recently-opened two-year window gives victims until next December to file a lawsuit, even if their abuse occurred sixty years ago, or more. If you have been sexually abused by a clergy member, contact a trusted NJ sexual abuse attorney at Kreizer Law today.
Who the Lookback Period Benefits
Anyone who was previously barred from filing a claim of sexual abuse due to the expired statute of limitations can benefit from this two-year window. Furthermore, the lookback applies whether the abuse occurred during childhood, or when the victim was an adult.
In September 2019, Attorney General Gurbir Grewal established a task force to investigate the growing number of sexual abuse allegations involving the Catholic dioceses. Although Grewal believes the release of names is a move in the right direction, he thinks we have a long way to go to uncover the full extent of abuse suffered at the hands of the Catholic Church in NJ.
“We know from the hundreds of calls that we have received over our tip line that there are many others who were abused as children and as adults,” said Grewal.
What You Should Do if You’ve Been Sexually Abused by a Clergy Member
Contact one of the highly-skilled sexual abuse lawyers at Kreizer Law to have your voice heard. You are not alone. In addition to bringing your abuser to justice and obtaining the compensation you deserve, filing a lawsuit can also help other victims find the courage to come forward.
Keep in mind, however, this window only lasts until December 2021. As such, it’s crucial that you reach out to a lawyer as soon as possible
Contact Kreizer Law Today
The skilled legal team at Kreizer Law are truly committed to helping survivors of sexual abuse navigate the complex legal system from start to finish. Our compassionate, knowledgeable trial lawyers will remain by your side throughout the entire process and will help to ensure that you receive the justice you deserve.
Kreizer Law today at 1‑(800)-4-JUSTICE® –1-(800)-458-7842 for a free and confidential consultation about your case.