New Jersey Child Sex Abuse Law S477
New Law Provides Window for Justice
A recent change in the New Jersey law makes it easier for survivors of sexual abuse to bring civil claims against their attackers or against related institutions which may have shielded their abuse, including nonprofits such as churches, athletic organizations, schools and community organizations for whom they worked.
The new law (S477) went into effect on December 1, 2019, and offers victims of child sexual abuse the ability to sue their abusers up until the victim turns 55, or within seven years of their realization that the abuse caused them harm. Further, with the new law, victims who were once unable to bring a claim against their abuser due to the short statute of limitations, now have two years to file a claim for the abuse they suffered, regardless of their current age. That two-year window closes November 30, 2021.
New Jersey is the 11th state to pass such a statute of limitations bill. New Jersey’s law is unique, however, because it includes a window for those who were sexually assaulted as adults to file lawsuits.
Victims who are considering filing a claim under the newly authorized statute should note that even if their victimizer was acquitted in a criminal court, they still could file a civil lawsuit. The standard of evidence in a civil lawsuit, which is known as the “preponderance of the evidence,” is often much easier to prove. Thus, the survivor has an increased likelihood of obtaining some form of recovery for their pain and suffering.
The trauma of sexual abuse can last a lifetime. Without help and healing, it can, heartbreakingly, leave long-lasting emotional and physical scars, such as PTSD, depression, anxiety, nightmares, poor self-esteem, recurrent nausea, and more. The statistics paint a horrifying picture. According to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN), approximately 63,000 children fall victim to sexual abuse a year, and an American is sexually assaulted every 92 seconds.
Victims deserve justice, but, until recently, time limitations in New Jersey have made it extremely difficult for victims to file a legal claim against those who abused them. Survivors of sexual abuse were given only two years to pursue litigation, and victims of child sexual abuse were given until age 20 to pursue civil claims.
Contact Hach & Rose, LLP, now at 646-685-8045 for a free, discreet consultation.
Who Can Be Held Responsible?
Sadly, victims are often taken advantage of by those they trust and who have some level of power over them. It may be a coach or mentor entrusted with a minor’s care, a therapist trusted by a patient, or a religious institution seen as a sanctuary.
Perpetrators of abuse often include, but are not limited to:
- Religious figurehead (i.e. priest/pastor)
- Foster parent(s)
- Law enforcement officer(s)
- Medical professional(s)
In a recent example, the Catholic Church in New Jersey released a list of almost 200 priests, and others it concluded have been the subject of credible allegations of child sexual abuse. The list was released individually by the state’s five dioceses and included priests who were taken out of ministry after a scandal that led to changes in the way the church dealt with child abuse. The list is continually being updated. It has been widely speculated that most of the priests on the list were deceased. But that does not mean that hope is lost for the survivor.
Alongside the perpetrators who committed the actual crime, there are third parties that can be held liable for their failure to protect the victim or for their negligent behavior.
These third parties can include, but are not limited to Institutions, organizations, or employers who are responsible for the actions of their employees, including:
- Religious Institutions (i.e., Catholic church, Mormon church, etc.)
- Youth Organizations (i.e., Boy Scouts, YMCA, Big Brothers Big Sisters, etc.)
- Schools or Academies
- Salvation Army
Meet the Hach & Rose, LLP Attorneys
You don’t have to carry your trauma alone. The sexual abuse and assault attorneys of Hach & Rose, LLP strongly believe victims of abuse deserve compassionate representation by someone who values their well-being above all else. Our highly-skilled attorneys have decades of experience and have helped hundreds of victims across the nation. We know what it takes to obtain justice — and we will fight for it on your behalf.
We are dedicated to this highly specialized area of law. We have a thorough understanding of all laws related to sexual abuse and assault, regardless of whether the perpetrators were among the clergy, educational institution, or healthcare industry. Our attorneys are among the top litigators in New York. They have, among the many honors they’ve received, been selected for the New York Super Lawyers list, the New York Super Lawyers Rising Stars list, and have also been named to the elite Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum. We understand that litigating these sensitive cases is about far more than just obtaining financial compensation. It’s about getting justice, a sense of closure, and finding a path forward.
Stanley J. Spero
Stanley Spero is an expert in his field, not only in the law but in handling the most challenging legal cases involving sexual abuse. He has 43 years of experience in the legal profession and has spent the last 30 years fighting for justice on behalf of sexual abuse victims.
Stanley Spero is focused on the unique needs of every client he works with and has the compassion and empathy required to be their greatest advocate and confidant. He specializes in cases focused on professional misconduct and malpractice involving sexual exploitation by psychotherapists, clergy, educators, and health care providers, among others. He knows how much work goes into obtaining restitution and justice on his clients’ behalf, and is more than willing to take that on.
His verdicts and settlements further demonstrate his ability to deliver superior results. Known as one of the top litigators in this field, Stanley represented victims in the Boston clergy abuse cases, which resulted in settlements of 10 million dollars. His work on these cases provided the basis of the movie Spotlight, which shined a light on cases involving sexual abuse of minors by catholic priests.
Stanley is a well-respected member of the legal profession and has been published extensively in professional publications such as Psychiatric Times and Lawyers Weekly. He has been quoted by media outlets such as the Boston Globe, the New York Times, and The Washington Post. His greatest source of pride, however, comes from being a pioneer in achieving justice for victims of sexual exploitation and abuse.
Michael A. Rose
Michael Rose has one singular goal that has guided his life and career: to do everything in his power to ensure his clients get the verdict and compensation they deserve for the suffering they have endured. He’s an advocate for the weak, the hurt, and the abused, making victims of sexual assault a top priority. Out of a desire for justice, he advocates passionately on behalf of victims — his unyielding attitude in the courtroom that has helped him secure tens of millions of dollars and numerous seven-figure jury verdicts and settlements for his clients. While he knows that nothing can make up for the hardships they have endured, it is his mission to make sure that financial hardship will never again be experienced.
His professional honors are numerous, such as being featured in New York Magazine’s Top-Rated Lawyers in the New York Area, being included on the New York Super Lawyers list from 2013-2019, and being a lifetime member of the Million Dollar and Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum.
It is not his accolades that his clients love and appreciate, however. They love his heart. His compassion and empathy immediately put them at ease and allow them to share their difficult story in a safe environment.
His focus has been on helping his clients achieve closure, move forward with dignity, and feel that their voices were heard. Michael Rose’s unparalleled litigation and negotiation experience, paired with his commitment to advocating on behalf of survivors of sexual abuse are what makes him uniquely qualified to try these tough, yet important cases.
Hillary M. Nappi
Hillary Nappi has always believed that children are precious and that we have a responsibility to protect them, advocate for them, and give them every opportunity in life. Hillary is an associate at Hach & Rose, LLP, and practices in the areas of complex civil litigation involving children and minors.
Children are the most vulnerable members of our society. They require the most patient, understanding, and relatable advocate possible; someone they can open up to without fear of judgment or skepticism. Hillary understands that it’s often painful for survivors of sexual assault and abuse to disclose their trauma. Her unique and gentle approach with her clients is only matched by her vigor and unyielding disposition inside the courtroom.
She was awarded “Top 40 Under 40 Criminal Defense Attorneys” by National Trial Lawyer in 2018 and was named a 2018-2019 Super Lawyers Metro Rising Star. Her blossoming career is evidence of her superior ability and personal involvement in every case she tries. Hillary is exceptionally fervent about her cases that involve minors. From educational matters to civil rights, discrimination, and bullying, she fights tirelessly on behalf of children everywhere, giving them the voice and justice they so greatly deserve.
Halina Radchenko is an expert in general negligence cases and a true asset to the clients she serves. Named a Rising Star by Super Lawyers, she is esteemed as a passionate and skillful advocate for victims. It’s her mission to advocate for those who were injured due to the negligence of others, ensuring that they, or their families, are heard and compensated for what they have suffered.
Halina has been touched by the stories of many victims and their families throughout her career. Her experiences with these cases have driven her to pursue legal change that will better serve other victims, potential victims, and society as a whole. She is actively involved in government and politics, and she is an officer of the New York State Trial Lawyers Association. The NYSTLA played an integral part in the passage of the Child Victims Act and other similar laws aimed at protecting victims. As an officer, Halina has a unique opportunity to discuss her client’s experiences with local and state representatives, explaining how a change in the law can lead to just results. Halina’s continued support and activity through NYSTLA and other similar organizations demonstrate her desire for change through advocacy and the support of those who have been victimized by injustice in the law.
Natasha Berg was born, and spent a significant portion of her childhood, in a third world country. She witnessed firsthand the suffering that impoverished, underrepresented, and oppressed families face.
After she moved to the U.S., she became confident that her purpose was to be a catalyst for societal change. It was this very belief that led to her passion for representing survivors of sexual abuse and assault. Natasha believes that there are many things that we as a society can and should do to break these violent patterns and that it’s our civic duty to protect those at risk. She’s made it her mission to advocate for these victims, and incite change that will prevent others from being victimized in the future.
With degrees in literature and law, Natasha’s life experiences and educational background provided her with a clear vision of how she wanted to advocate for those who suffered injustices. She is instrumental in assisting with trial preparation and drafting complex legal documents. She’s been able to spot, address, and argue legal issues that have been essential to achieving justice and successful outcomes in numerous client cases. Natasha’s vision of fighting to protect the downtrodden and abused has become a reality since working for the firm, whose values are aligned perfectly with her own.
John Blyth joined Hach & Rose, LLP, in 2013, having devoted his career to helping the injured and mistreated. He is humbled to represent his clients, who often come to him at one of the most challenging times in their lives, trusting his compassion, instincts, and skill when they need it most.
In addition to representing survivors of sexual assault, he fights against all manner of abuse, neglect, and wrongdoing. His devotion to helping his clients obtain justice and secure full and fair compensation for the suffering they’ve endured is evident in all the cases he’s tried.
Named a New York Super Lawyers Rising Star, John Blyth has extensive courtroom experience and has tried numerous cases in New York state and federal courts. He is not just a compassionate attorney. He’s achieved outstanding financial results for his clients in trial, and his incredible litigation skills have been instrumental in obtaining many settlements in excess of $2,000,000.
John Blyth not only cares about his clients on a personal level, he cares deeply about the outcomes of their trial. He is dedicated to obtaining justice for victims and their families, helping them to find closure and a way to move forward after tragedy.
Justice and Compensation for Survivors
For more than 30 years, the New Jersey sexual abuse lawyers at Hach & Rose, LLP have helped hundreds of abuse victims across the nation. While we recognize that financial compensation can never fully reconcile all the anguish and trauma victims have suffered, we hope that it will provide a sense of closure and justice that will help them move forward in a positive direction.
Our experienced New Jersey attorneys will fight for you or your loved one to recover compensation for:
- Medical expenses
- Loss of income due to injury
- Stolen or damaged property
- Pain and suffering
- Punitive damages
Our team will conduct a thorough investigation of your case, and will hold all responsible parties accountable to pursue the maximum compensation you rightfully deserve.
Contact Hach & Rose, LLP Today
The Hach & Rose, LLP sexual abuse attorneys are a committed, passionate, dedicated team capable of delivering the results you deserve. We will do everything in our power to fight for your rights and ensure you receive justice. Call our attorneys today at 646-685-8045 for a free, no-obligation consultation.