New law in New Jersey gets rid of statute of limitations for sex abuse

ROSELAND, New Jersey (WABC) -- A flood of lawsuits on behalf of victims of childhood sex abuse will be filed in New Jersey next week.

Starting Dec. 1, New Jersey will cast aside the statute of limitations for sexual abuse cases.

The lawsuits will name among others the Boy Scouts, the Newark Archdiocese and Little League baseball.

Mark Drennan says normal is a state of mind he never knew as a young boy. He struggles to achieve normalcy every day he wakes up and takes a breath.

He and his cousin, Tim, announced Tuesday morning with their attorney their plan to use a new law that was passed earlier this year which increases the statute of limitations for sex abuse victims to file claims against institutions.

"A new statue has been passed that allows victims of sexual abuse to come forward regardless of when that abuse occurred," attorney Bradley Rice said.

Tim says he was sexually abused once as a child, but Mark says his abuse went on for seven years.

Both men say the man responsible is Father John Morel while he was assigned to St. Lucy's in Union City.

Back in February, his name appeared on a list released by the Archdiocese of Newark of clergy members with credible allegations against them.
"It's not fair to people, to the kids that go to a priest who says if you don't do what I tell you, God is going to be mad at you," Tim Drennan said.

Their attorney says with the passage of the new law, they are preparing to file similar claims against the Boy Scouts and Little League baseball.

"This is something that has to be stopped. And hopefully me and him can do it," Tim Drennan said.

The Drennans plan to file a claim on the very first day the new law goes into effect, which is December 1. They hope their story encourages others to come forward too.

The Boy Scouts of America released the following statement:

"First and foremost, we care deeply about all victims of child abuse and sincerely apologize to anyone who was harmed during their time in Scouting.We are outraged that there have been times when individuals took advantage of our program to abuse innocentchildren.We believe victims, we support them, we pay forcounseling by a provider of their choice, andwe encourage them tocome forward. It isthe Boy Scouts of America (BSA) policy that all incidents of suspected abuse are reported to law enforcement.

Nothing is more important than the safety and protection of children in our Scouting programs - it is our top priority. The Boy Scouts of America has a multi-layered process of safeguards informed by experts, including the following, all of which act as barriers to abuse: a leadership policy that requires at least two youth-protection trained adults be present with youth at all times and bans one-on-one situations where adults would have any interactions alone with children - either in person, online, or via text; a ban on the use of recording devices/cell phones near bathrooms and shower houses; a thorough screening process for adult leaders and staff including criminal background checks, and the prompt mandatory reporting of any allegation or suspicion of abuse.

We steadfastly believe that one incident of abuse is one too many, and we are continually improving all of our policies to prevent abuse.This is precisely why we fully support and advocate for the creation of a national registry overseen by a governmental entity, similar to the national sex offender registry, of those who are suspected of child abuse or inappropriate behavior with a child, thus allowing all youth-serving organizations to share and access such information.We call upon Congress and other youth- serving organizations to support this initiative."


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