Childhood Sexual Abuse Survivors Given More Time to Seek Justice, Healing
Two-Year Window Allows Survivors of Any Age to File Lawsuits
(Trenton, NJ) – New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy today signed historic legislation that gives child sexual abuse survivors more time to seek justice and healing.
“This is a great day for survivors and New Jersey,” said attorney Greg Gianforcaro of Gianforcaro Law in Phillipsburg, NJ, who represents childhood sexual abuse survivors. “We thank Sen. Joseph Vitale and the other New Jersey state legislators who have supported survivors of sexual abuse and worked hard for decades to make this happen.”
Under the new law, which goes into effect December 1, 2019 in New Jersey, child sexual abuse survivors will be able to file sexual abuse lawsuits until age 55, or seven years from the date they discover the cause of their injuries, whichever is later. And there will be a two-year window for child sexual abuse victims of any age to bring lawsuits for sexual abuse in cases that were previously barred by the statute of limitations.
Attorney Jeff Anderson of Jeff Anderson & Associates, who represents childhood sexual abuse survivors, said that while there should be no statute of limitations for sexual abuse, New Jersey lawmakers deserve much credit for this legislation. Through civil lawsuits, abusers and the institutions that cover up for them are forced to disclose secret documents and information, which helps protect children and ensure transparency, he said. It also helps survivors take back the power that was stolen from them when they were abused. It can take survivors decades to come forward about their abuse, Anderson said.
“Without the courage and efforts of survivors, none of this is possible,” Anderson said. “They can now get help and protect kids in the future.”
Over the past month, Jeff Anderson & Associates and Gianforcaro have launched numerous efforts to expose child molesters in New Jersey. A few weeks ago, they stood with a courageous survivor, Richard Halvorson, who brought a lawsuit against Boy Scouts of America for the release of thousands of names of perpetrators. Anderson released testimony showing the Boy Scouts had 7,819 perpetrators of child sexual abuse. Anderson and Gianforcaro, along with survivor Ed Hanratty also began an effort against all of the Catholic bishops in New Jersey for nuisance, seeking the names of all clergy perpetrators in New Jersey.