Many states have changed the periods of time for which victims of sexual abuse can file civil claims against their attackers even if statutes of limitations have passed.
Some states have either extended or eliminated the statutory limits for sexual abuse crimes – both for criminal and civil procedures – while others have created “lookback windows” or “revival windows” that remain open for finite periods during which victims can sue attackers or institutions that allowed the abuse.
New Jersey enacted such a window for two years to allow for sexual abuse lawsuits. But litigation must be started before the window closes. In one case, abuse claims against the Catholic Diocese of Camden, the institution has filed Chapter 11 Bankruptcy, which seeks to place a limit on payment of claims and a deadline for filing lawsuits.
The bankruptcy court by late January was expected to set a bar date by which victims must file proof of claims, with that date likely to be Fall 2021. That means that claims must be prepared and filed without delay. Victims of sexual abuse by a priest in the Camden diocese -- covering Camden, Atlantic, Cape May, Cumberland, Gloucester, and Salem counties -- should contact an experienced attorney as soon as possible to make sure their case is heard.
In New Jersey alone, more than 230 lawsuits alleging sexual abuse by Catholic priests have been filed over the past year, while Catholic dioceses across the nation have paid out about $4 billion over the past several decades to settle abuse claims.
Kline & Specter attorneys have had success in obtaining substantial results in cases against the Catholic Church for instances of sexual abuse against children and teenagers, even though many of the victims are now older adults. The firm achieved the largest settlement ever paid by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia for a former altar boy who was abused by a pedophile priest; the settlement amount was confidential. It also recently won a ruling by a New Jersey appellate court to keep alive a lawsuit for alleged priest abuse committed at the Jersey Shore.
The law firm’s attorneys are members of the Tort Creditors Committee involved in litigation related to the Camden diocese, which has been named in dozens of sexual abuse lawsuits.
Those who feel they may have been victimized by a priest in the Camden diocese should contact one of our experienced lawyers, no matter how long ago the abuse occurred. Learn more about lawsuits against the Camden diocese.