How Long Do I Have to File a Clergy Abuse Lawsuit in New Jersey?
Posted on: November 4, 2020 Catholic Church Sexual Abuse
How long you have to file a clergy abuse lawsuit in New Jersey is a common question. For some New Jersey clergy abuse survivors, it may take years, even decades to recall the abuse since traumatic events suffered as a child are often suppressed. Even those who haven’t blocked those memories often still need many years to process the pain and receive treatment or counseling before they are ready to share their stories.
In either situation, if a survivor decides to seek accountably by filing a legal claim years, or even decades after the abuse, they may wonder if it is too late to file a clergy sexual abuse lawsuit in the state of New Jersey. The amount of time a person has to file a civil claim is set by each state and is commonly referred to as the statute of limitations. Knowing if you can sue the Roman Catholic Church in New Jersey will depend on New Jersey’s statute of limitations laws.
For informational purposes only, below is a summary of New Jersey’s statute of limitations laws. If you have been a victim of child sex abuse, regardless of how long ago the abuse occurred, you should contact an experienced sexual abuse attorney to help you determine if your claim is within statute. There are often outside factors, beyond the laws listed below, that may affect the amount of time you have to file a claim.
Call us now at 1-800-941-7209 for a FREE and PRIVATE consultation.
New Jersey Statute of Limitations for Clergy Sexual Abuse
Studies have shown that only about 34% of child-sexual-abuse victims in the United States tell authorities of their abuse before adulthood, which means a significant number of survivors need time before they come forward, if at all. Since statute of limitations laws set the time frame where legal action can be pursued, they can inadvertently create a barrier for survivors to seek justice through the legal system if a victim’s claim is time-barred before they are ready to come forward.
In New Jersey, legislators have begun passing a number of progressive statute of limitations changes, giving those affected by clergy sexual abuse the ability to sue an individual clergy member, and/or the diocese(s) responsible for covering up, or failing to protect children from ongoing abuse.
The summary table below shows New Jersey’s current civil statute of limitations laws which dictate how long a survivor of sexual abuse has to file a claim. The 3 general categories associated with statute of limitations limits include:
- Age Cap: The ‘Age Cap’ refers to the age in which a childhood sexual abuse victim has to file a claim. The age cap was amended in 2019 and extended it to 55 years old from the previous cap of 20 (age of majority, 18, plus 2 years).
- Discovery Rule: Some states include a ‘Discovery Rule’ as part of their statute of limitations laws. This rule gives victims who have suppressed the memories of their abuse a time frame to file a claim once the connection to their abuse is made. In 2019, the discovery rule in New Jersey was increased from 2 years to 7 years. The discovery rule applies to previously expired claims as well.
- Revival Law: A revival law, commonly referred to as a ‘Revival Window’, grants victims who previously would have fallen outside the current statute of limitations laws, a finite amount of time in which they are able to file their claims. In 2019, New Jersey created a 2-year revival window which will close on November 30, 2021.
More information about New Jersey’s civil and criminal statute laws, along with a sampling of settlements and payouts, and current news can be found on our main New Jersey sexual abuse page.
Compensation for New Jersey Clergy Sex Abuse Survivors Outside of Court
Several dioceses around the country have created Independent Victim Compensation Programs (“IVCP”). These compensation programs are set up by a single diocese, or a group of dioceses typically within the same state, and allow survivors to submit a claim directly with the Catholic Church in order to avoid filing a legal claim, and going to court. That claim is then reviewed by an independent claim administrator, chosen and approved by the diocese, who then decides if that claim is eligible for compensation through the program.
All of the New Jersey dioceses noted below were part of this type of settlement program.
- Archdiocese of Newark
- Dioceses of Camden
- Dioceses of Metuchen
- Dioceses of Trenton
- Dioceses of Paterson
The New Jersey Diocese Compensation program opened in February of 2019. Currently claims for all the dioceses, except Camden, are still being reviewed and determined by administrators. On July 31, 2020, the Diocese of Camden suspended their involvement in the Independent Victims Compensation Program citing “…sustained and precipitous decline in revenue resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. The Diocese is fast approaching a point where it will not be able to continue to borrow the funds necessary to pay the amounts awarded by the Program.”
Survivors who experienced abuse within one of New Jersey’s Dioceses, including Camden; should speak to an experienced clergy sexual abuse attorney to help you fully understand your options in New Jersey so you can proceed with your claim in a way that makes you feel most comfortable.
Sexual Abuse Lawyer for New Jersey Clergy Abuse Victims
If you or a loved one were a victim of sexual abuse within the New Jersey dioceses, contact our firm today. Our law firm handles New Jersey sexual abuse lawsuits and can help you understand how long you have to file a clergy abuse claim in the state of New Jersey. Call us now at If you or a loved one were a victim of sexual abuse within the New Jersey dioceses, contact our firm today. Our law firm handles New Jersey sexual abuse lawsuits and can help you understand how long you have to file a clergy abuse claim in the state of New Jersey. Call us now at 1-800-941-7209 for a FREE and PRIVATE consultation. for a FREE and PRIVATE consultation.