TRENTON, N.J. -- New Jersey lawmakers on Thursday (Dec. 9) will consider a bill that would eliminate any statute of limitations on when sex abuse victims can sue—and allow them to take action against clergy, educators and others who knew about abuse and did nothing to stop it.
Under current state law, victims can sue their abuser or a parent or guardian who knew about the abuse and allowed it to occur. The bill also would allow victims to sue those who had “supervisory or disciplinary power” but did nothing about the abuse.
“The current process presents real obstacles for the victim that are unfair,” said state Sen. Joseph Vitale, a Democratic sponsor of the bill that will be considered by the state Senate Judiciary Committee.
“For those who discover their abuse later on in life, this will give them a greater opportunity to bring a civil action against an individual and the institutions that harbor the criminals.”
Advocates for abuse victims said they often take years to gather the courage to come forward with their stories, and often suffer posttraumatic stress disorder and depression.