New Jersey Law Journal
March 24, 2019
By Suzette Parmley
Monday’s scheduled vote in the Assembly on a bill to remove the civil statute of limitations on certain offenses of child sexual abuse caps a milestone.
Advocates and attorneys who represent victims call it historic, saying lawmakers were finally listening and responding to survivors.
“It’s long overdue,” said plaintiff attorney Gregory Gianforcaro of Phillipsburg, who by his own count has settled more than 200 cases of childhood sexual abuse by clerics within the Catholic Church. “Legislators are finally understanding that the playing field has to be leveled—that there has to be a level field between the victim and the entity that was complicit in regards to the abuse.
“What this bill does, this is the legislators saying, ‘We hear your cries.’ We understand your arguments, and we acknowledge that it does take decades to come out. The average age of a victim of sexual abuse, when they are … courageous enough to disclose the abuse, is 53.”
S-477 was approved by the full Senate by a 32-1 vote on March 14. Its counterpart, A-3648, is expected to pass the Assembly in similar fashion, and Gov. Murphy is expected to sign it.
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