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In less than a month, the state of New Jersey’s new childhood abuse protection law will take effect.  This new law, effective December 1, 2019, will also create a one-time, two-year window for civil action claims to be filed by any adults who were previously time barred from filing a civil lawsuit under the current statute of limitations. This will open the door to claims that were previously precluded under the current limitations law.

In May of this year,New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed a law significantly extending the statute of limitations period for those adults sexually assaulted or abused when they were children. The new law, S-477, permits victims to file civil claims until they turn age 55, or seven years from the time they become aware of the injury, whichever comes later. The old law, in place for decades, allowed civil claims to be filed within two years after a victim turns age 18, or within two years from the time they become aware of the injury.

This new law, effective December 1, 2019, will also create a one-time, two-year window for civil action claims to be filed by any adults who were previously time barred from filing a civil lawsuit under the current statute of limitations. This will open the door to claims that were previously precluded under the current limitations law.

It is in this context that former prelate Theodore McCarrick’s plight is still an ongoing sore spot for the church.  After all, it was allegations against Cardinal McCarrick that set in motion the latest iteration of the Catholic Church’s sex abuse scandal.

Weeks away from the new New Jersey law taking effect, McCarrick is still in the spotlight.  According to The Washington Post, McCarrick “is facing new accusations that he abused at least seven boys from about 1970 until 1990, according to three sources, including a person with direct knowledge of the claims U.S. church officials sent to the Vatican in January.”

“In addition, six allegations of sexual abuse by seminarians and former seminarians also were sent to Rome, according to this last person,” reported the Post’s Michelle Boorstein.

McCarrick’s saga and history of sex abuse of minors and adult seminarians continues to loom large over New Jersey.  McCarrick was a bishop in the Garden State for nearly two decades-he served the Diocese of Metuchen from 1981 until 1986 when he was transferred to the Archdiocese of Newark where he served until 2000.

These new McCarrick revelations came soon after Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal announced that a retired Roman Catholic priest from New Jersey was arrested and charged with sexually assaulting an underage girl in the late 1990s.

Father Brendan Williams is the second priest to be charged in criminal cases filed by the New Jersey Clergy Abuse Task Force, which was formed by Grewal in September 2018 to investigate allegations of clergy abuse. The arrest was made by members of the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office assigned to the task force.

 

A Roman Catholic priest also was recently sentenced to prison for sexually assaulting a teenage girl in the early 1990s. He was the first defendant to be charged and convicted by the Clergy Abuse Task Force.

More than 300 New Jersey priests have been revealed as those with credible allegations of sexual abuse against children.  Here is an updated list.

Attorney Joe Saunders is already actively representing adult childhood survivors of priest sexual abuse in New Jersey, California, New York, Florida and other states.  If you or a loved one has been abused by a Catholic priest, contact him for a free initial consultation.  Saunders has been advocating for priest abuse survivors for two decades now.

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