Good News for Victims of Church Abuse in New Jersey
The attorneys at Heiligman & Mogul understand the often-overwhelming challenges faced by victims of priest and clergy sexual abuse. These include the frightening prospect of revealing even the occurrence of the abuse to another human being and the resulting reluctance to seek help for the suffering they endure.
Heiligman & Mogul will handle every aspect of your case with the utmost sensitivity, compassion, and discretion—and the strongest determination to achieve the full extent of justice you or your child deserve. Your initial cost-free consultation as well as all additional consultations and communications will be conducted in the strictest of confidence. If you or your loved one has been sexually abused by a priest, minister, or other clergy or church official, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. The law entitles you to compensation for your suffering and the chance to see the predator who abused you brought to justice.
Priest & Clergy Sexual Abuse is Not your Fault
Despite having done nothing to invite sexual abuse and being powerless to fight it, victims often feel ashamed and responsible for the trauma they’ve experienced. Because most sexual abuse victims do not share their experience with others, victims fail to realize how very often priest and clergy sexual abuse occurs. Many victims feel that they are alone, or one of a few who have been abused by these cruel predators. This adds fuel to the mistaken belief that they must have done something to cause or invite the abuse—that they are somehow at fault.
This could not be further from the truth. The truth is:
- You did nothing to cause or invite your sexual abuse.
- You are not in any way at fault for your abuse.
- You are not alone. Even people who have not experienced sexual abuse are recognizing its extent and the devastation it wreaks on its victims
The Exceptional Cruelty and Danger of Priest & Clergy Sexual Abuse
Priests, clergy, and other church officials are among the people children and adults trust the most. The extent and significance of this trust—which may permeate the education and daily lives of both adult and child church members—makes victims far more vulnerable to being abused in the first place. It also significantly increases the emotional damage suffered by victims whose sacred trust in admired and revered individuals has been so completely shattered.
Child and even adult victims who feel shame and responsibility for their own abuse are unaware of the insidious nature of a priest or clergy member’s abuse. These predators systematically influence and groom their victims, gaining their complete trust while slowing easing them into something they do not understand. By the time the abuse is in full swing, victims are both confused about what is happening and powerless to escape.
It bears repeating: None of this is your fault.
Extent of Sexual Abuse across the Country
Major sexual abuse scandals involving priests, clergy, and others associated with churches and religious organizations have been well-publicized throughout the United States. In August 2014, a grand jury report revealed ongoing sexual abuse by priests. In one state alone, more than 300 priests were found to have abused more than 1,000 children over a 70-year period. The horror of this news was magnified by the additional discovery that priests, bishops, cardinals, and other church officials had engaged in a deliberate scheme to cover up the abuse. Knowing full well that priests were sexually abusing children and other church members, the church chose to protect the church’s reputation rather than to protect its parishioners.
In New Jersey, 188 priests and deacons who had abused children from as far back as the 1940s were identified by the State’s dioceses in February 2019. These scandals got the attention of the American public as well as its legislators.
New Sexual Abuse Law in New Jersey
On May 19, 2019, the State of New Jersey passed a new sexual abuse law that dramatically increases sexual abuse survivors’ chances of bringing their abusers to justice. The law significantly extends the statute of limitations (the time during which someone can sue) in civil sexual-abuse cases by creating a two year window for survivors’ claims to be filed that would otherwise be barred by the statute of limitations.
The law will become effective on December 1, 2019. Some of the more important sections of the law provide:
- A two-year window, beginning December 1, 2019, for children and adult survivors of sexual abuse to file a civil case which allege past sexual abuse;
- Allows adult survivors of child sex abuse to bring a civil case against their abusers until the survivor reaches the age of 55, or within seven years from the date they become aware of the harm of their injuries (whichever is later).
- Survivors also will be able to sue institutions and individuals that were aware of and permitted the abuse to occur or otherwise protected these abusers
The result of the new law is that many more sexual predators will be brought to justice and reduce the chances of coverup by institutions more interested in their own reputations than the safety of the children in their care.
Obtaining Representation as Soon as Possible Can be Crucial to your Case
Finding representation for your or your child’s sexual-abuse case as soon as possible is critical to your chances of achieving justice against your abuser. Consult our compassionate and dedicated attorneys for a confidential and cost-free consultation about your case.
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The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation. We invite you to contact us and welcome your calls, letters and electronic mail. Contacting us does not create an attorney-client relationship. Please do not send any confidential information to us until such time as an attorney-client relationship has been established.
No aspect of this advertisement has been approved by the Supreme Court of New Jersey. Laura Feldman, Esquire responsible for NJ practice. S. Stacy Mogul, Esquire, Philip Yampolsky, Esquire and Marguerite Nealon, Esquire, Members of PA Bar only.