Judge denies Delbarton School’s request to find new sex abuse law unconstitutional


May 26, 2020

By Abbott Koloff

A New Jersey law that took effect in 2019 lifts the statute of limitations on decades-old sexual abuse claims. NorthJersey

A judge has denied a challenge to a law that loosened restrictions on civil sex abuse complaints — allowing a lawsuit to continue against the order that runs the Delbarton School and clearing the way for dozens of similar cases against the Catholic Church and other institutions to go forward in state courts.

The lawsuit against Delbarton was filed more than two years before New Jersey extended the civil statute of limitations for sex abuse cases — and suspended it altogether for two years. Dozens of sex abuse lawsuits have been filed since the law took effect on Dec. 1, 2019, many of them against the Catholic Church for alleged abuse from decades ago.

Attorneys for St. Mary’s Abbey and the Order of St. Benedict argued that the suspension of the statute of limitations is unconstitutional and asked the judge to dismiss the case. Alternatively, they asked for a hearing to determine whether the accuser met the requirements of the old statute — which had been in effect when the suit was filed.

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