Sexual Abuse Attorney Serving New JerseySchedule a Free Consultation
Trustworthy and compassionate counsel for adult and minor victims of sexual abuse. Contact Brach Eichler Injury Lawyers today to discuss your case.
At Brach Eichler Injury Lawyers, our personal injury attorneys have built a strong reputation as determined advocates for serious, catastrophic accidents and wrongful death victims. For decades, we have helped victims receive the compensation they deserve and the closure they need so that they can go on with their lives. Albeit under very different circumstances. Yet, we understand that a tragic event due to negligence substantially differs from a deliberate assault by a predator abusing authority and trust. We know that victims of sexual abuse can’t tell their stories through accident reconstruction, X-rays, medical records, and diagnostics. Theirs is a story of innocence trampled, trust violated, dignity robbed, and personal autonomy overthrown. Their story requires more than aggressive advocacy. It demands compassion, understanding, patience, and sensitivity.
At Brach Eichler Injury Lawyers, we understand the process of seeking justice has to be different for victims of sexual assault. With professional skill and comprehensive strategy, our legal team helps you reclaim the power the assault took away. Then you can finally begin healing and look towards the future.
Skilled representation for a variety of sex abuse cases
Sexual abuse is a widespread societal problem. According to RAINN, the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network, an American is sexually assaulted every 92 seconds. Every 9 minutes, the victim is a child. Each year, more than 320,000 people in the United States are sexually assaulted. About 60,000 children are victims of “substantiated or indicated” sexual abuse. Meanwhile, the criminal justice system is making little impact on the problem. Only five out of every 1,000 perpetrators end up in prison.
On May, 2019, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed a law that extended the statute of limitations in sexual abuse cases. Under the new law, people now have until they turn 55 years old, or within seven years of the realization that their abuse caused harm, to file a claim of sexual abuse.
The new law will make it easier for people to seek damages from churches and other institutions that shield abuse. But taking legal action can still be incredibly frightening for many sexual abuse victims. Even with the extended limitation periods, it can still be traumatic for victims of sexual abuse to consider confronting their assailants.
Sexual abuse takes place under a variety of circumstances and a wide range of places, such as:
- Religious organizations
- Date rapes
- Summer camps
- Businesses and nonprofits that cater to children
- Healthcare facilities
Such violations cry out for justice. Brach Eichler Injury Lawyers represents adults and minor victims and adults who were abused as minors. We handle cases against individuals and organizations. However, our attorneys do not prosecute abuse cases against healthcare providers or medical facilities.
Capable management of legal issues related to sexual abuse cases
If you are a victim of sexual assault, you must have confidence in your legal counsel and the legal process. Brach Eichler Injury Lawyers attorneys are seasoned litigators with a long track record of success. We are adept at managing the complexities of civil litigation, including those related to sexual assault cases. Here are a few of the important legal issues that often arise in abuse cases:
The burden of proof
A plaintiff in a civil lawsuit can prevail by proving the case by a preponderance of the evidence. This is a lesser standard than a criminal trial, where a prosecutor must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Therefore, if your assailant has already been found guilty of sexual assault, victory in a civil case is a virtual certainty. However, even if your abuser was found not guilty at trial, you could still win your case because of the lower burden of proof.
This Latin phrase means, “Let the master answer.” It is an ancient legal concept that says an employer can be liable for the wrongful acts of an employee while on the job. This concept allows victims to sue school districts, religious organizations, etc., when their employees or members commit sexual abuse.
Statute of limitations
The statute of limitations is the law that sets the time limit for bringing legal action after an event has occurred. The usual statute of limitations for a personal injury, such as an assault, is two years from the date of the incident. Child victims have until the age of 20 to commence an action. However, the New Jersey legislature, recognizing the problems with a rigid statute for childhood sexual abuse, has amended the law. Child victims now have until they reach 55, but must still file within seven years of realizing that the abuse caused them harm. Victims barred by the old statute of limitations may still have time to file their cases.
Brach Eichler Injury Lawyers has decades of experience with personal injury litigation and has recovered over $425 million for our clients.
Edward P. Capozzi recovered at least one of the top 20 verdicts or settlements in New Jersey every year from 2012 to 2018. He also received the President’s Award from the New Jersey Association for Justice in 2015 and the Personal Injury Hall of Fame Award from the New Jersey Law Journal in 2014.
Charles X. Gormally is licensed in both New Jersey and New York. He was proud to serve as Mountain Lakes, New Jersey’s mayor in 2011 and 2012.
If you have any questions about the legal process or your rights, our knowledgeable attorneys will provide answers at a free consultation.
Suing organizations in NJ for sexual abuse
As mentioned above, the concept of respondeat superior allows victims of abuse to sue organizations when an employee commits sexual abuse. The plaintiff must prove the organization is liable for any of these reasons:
- Negligent hiring of the abuser
- Negligent supervision of the abuser
- Ignoring or covering up the abuse
- Failing to have adequate policies in place to discourage abuse or assist victims
A major example of organizational liability is the priest abuse scandal within the Catholic Church. The problem has been so systemic over the past several decades that the Church has set up a fund to compensate people whom priests sexually abused.
The New Jersey Compensation Fund for Victims of Church Sexual Abuse of Minors evaluates abuse claims and negotiates settlements with victims. The NJ fund is the first statewide compensation program of its kind. A unique aspect of the fund is that none of the five dioceses in the state have any say in the settlements. However, each diocese has agreed to release a list of all religious who have been credibly accused. An experienced attorney at our firm can represent your interests if you claim abuse by a priest or deacon.
Although the Catholic Church scandal has received a great deal of publicity, with New Jersey dioceses having paid out at least $50 million to victims in recent years, the problem of sexual abuse is by no means limited to the Church. Virtually every organization whose employees have access to children has been implicated at one time or another. This includes public and private schools, daycare facilities, after-school programs, the Boy Scouts, etc. Unfortunately, the only way to rid society of this problem is to aggressively hold organizations accountable so they become more vigilant about protecting the public, especially children.
It’s All About Results
We are the trial attorneys with the experience and knowledge to get you the results you deserve. At Brach Eichler Injury Lawyers, we take time to get to know you, as well as your case. We are committed to excellence. It is important for our team to understand your fears, concerns and expectations. We are always available to answer any questions, and are willing to come to you if you are unable to come to us.Contact Our Experienced Law Firm
Protecting the victim from additional trauma
As mentioned earlier, one of the main goals of bringing a civil action for sexual abuse is to restore the victim’s dignity. Our attorneys are very protective of clients who have already been traumatized. We seek to limit the emotional toll on our clients throughout the legal process. We believe that open communication and thorough preparation are key to helping you get through the more difficult aspects of a lawsuit. As your advocates, we want to shoulder as much of the burden as possible so you get excellent legal representation and supportive counsel.
Brach Eichler Injury Lawyers works with sexual abuse victims who are dealing with many different psychological effects, such as:
- Relationship problems
- Sexual problems
- Dissociative patterns
- Eating disorders
- Somatic concerns
Sexual abuse can also cause post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in some cases, which could involve flashbacks and nightmares. Certain victims could be suicidal.
Other cases could involve people diagnosed with sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Physical harm in these cases may include chronic pain, genital injuries, and gynecological complications.
Sexual Abuse Statistics
According to an April 2019 ABC News report, 7,819 Boy Scouts of America troop leaders have allegedly sexually abused as many as 12,254 victims. As far back as 1991, the Washington Times discovered that over the prior 19 years, at least 1,151 Boy Scouts had reported being abused by troop leaders.
A 2018 NPR report on the Catholic church revealed that 301 clergy members in Pennsylvania were accused of sexually abusing over 1,000 minors over the past seven decades. An earlier investigation by the Boston Globe in 2002 found that more than 70 Massachusetts priests had sexually abused children.
The John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York conducted a research study for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) that found that 10,667 individuals had made allegations of child sexual abuse by priests. According to the report, there were allegations of sexual abuse against 4,392 priests between 1950 and 2002 that were not later withdrawn or proven to be false.
The same research study found that:
- 4% of the alleged abuse occurred within a single year
- 8% of alleged abuse lasted more than a year but less than two years
- 28% of alleged abuse lasted between two and four years
- 2% of alleged abuse lasted between five and nine years
- Less than 1% of alleged abuse lasted ten or more years
The John Jay research study also reported that of the priests at the time of the alleged abuse:
- 3% were associate pastors
- 1% were pastors
- 4% were resident priests
- 2% were teachers
- All other categories accounted for less than 3% of each
According to the study:
- 56% were alleged to have abused one victim
- 27% were alleged to have abused two or three victims
- 14% were alleged to have abused four to nine victims
- 4% were alleged to have abused more than ten victims
According to the study, 81% of victims were male and 19% were female. By age:
- 9% were 11 to 14 years of age
- 3% were 15 to 17 years of age
- 16% were 8 to 10 years of age
- 6% were under 7 years of age
In terms of alleged acts in the John Jay research study:
- Touching over the victim’s clothing accounted for 52.6%
- Touching under the victim’s clothes accounted for 44.9%
- Clerics performing oral sex accounted for 26%
- Victims disrobed accounted for 25.7%
- Penile penetration or attempted penetration accounted for 22.4%
Alleged abuse occurred:
- In a priest’s home or the parish residence, in 40.9% of cases
- In the church, in 16.3% of cases
- In the victim’s home, in 12.4% of cases
- In a vacation house, in 10.3% of cases
- In school, in 10.3% of cases
- In a car, in 9.8% of cases
The 3.5% of priests with more than 10 allegations of abuse included 149 priests allegedly responsible for abusing 2,960 victims, or 26% of all allegations. The amount of money already paid by the Catholic Church to victims due to these allegations was $472 million.
Contact our compassionate NJ lawyers for your sexual abuse claim
Brach Eichler Injury Lawyers provides diligent and concerned counsel for victims of sexual abuse throughout New Jersey. Let us help you get the compensation you deserve and the closure to put this horrible incident behind you. Call us today at (973) 364-8300 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.