Abuse Guardians, a renowned nationwide coalition of legal advocates devoted to championing the rights of survivors of sexual abuse, proudly declares the appointment of Brian Kent from Laffey, Bucci & Kent as the esteemed Abuse Guardian for the state of New Jersey. This appointment is a testament to Brian Kent's exceptional expertise, unwavering dedication, and vast experience in safeguarding the interests of survivors.
Abuse Guardians stands as an esteemed alliance comprising distinguished legal professionals who have united to provide specialized advocacy for survivors of sexual abuse. With an exhaustive and meticulous selection procedure, the organization ensures that only the most devoted and empathetic attorneys become part of its esteemed network. The selection committee of Abuse Guardians rigorously evaluates each candidate's professional accomplishments, legal acumen, and unwavering commitment to pursuing justice on behalf of survivors. Through this comprehensive assessment, the organization guarantees that survivors in need receive unparalleled legal representation and unwavering support.
Are you looking for answers, support, and accountability after someone in your family was sexually abused or assaulted? Our New Jersey sex crimes lawyers can help you with common concerns like:
Our New Jersey victims' rights lawyers can help your family get the support you need. Contact us by filling out the form on this page, or by giving us a call for a free, confidential consultation.
The attorneys at Laffey, Bucci & Kent have a vast experience in handling these tough cases. Over 90 years of combined trial experience, the firm's lawyers have helped numerous survivors in their pursuit of justice, handling lawsuits against some of the nation's largest defendants, including the Catholic Church, private boarding schools and national massage spa chains.
Justice is possible. With an experienced advocate at your side, you can secure compensation and force the responsible parties to be held accountable. Laffey, Bucci & Kent's sexual assault and sexual abuse practice team is led by firm Partner Brian Kent, Esq. Before entering private practice, Brian served as a prosecutor in the Sex Crimes Unit of the Montgomery County District Attorney's Office.
As a sex crimes prosecutor, he earned invaluable experience working within the criminal justice system, gaining knowledge of criminal procedures, sex crimes and the mentality of offenders. Brian knows this area inside and out. He can help you. The attorneys at Laffey, Bucci & Kent have spent decades pursuing justice on behalf of survivors. You could be next. Our lawyers can help you find your voice again. You can take control of your legal future.
All too often, sexual assault and abuse survivors are intimidated into silence, forced to live out lives of quiet desperation as they struggle to confront what happened to them. Shame, embarrassment and fear are common, while closure seems impossible. But it doesn't have to be this way. We believe that you have a powerful voice. Your story deserves to be told.
You are not a victim, but a survivor. You have been forced to go through immense hardships, through no fault of your own. But you don't have to be defined by what happened to you. Recovery is possible, though it often takes years of concerted effort through therapy. For many survivors, pursuing justice is the first step on the path to true recovery.
In New Jersey, there are two distinct avenues for pursuing justice against the parties responsible for your assault or abuse - the criminal justice system and the civil justice system. These options are not mutually-exclusive; you can choose to pursue both criminal charges and a private civil lawsuit.
In the criminal justice system, the direct perpetrators of crime are held accountable for their wrongful actions by criminal prosecutors. In prosecuting sex crimes, prosecutors hold these offenders accountable to society as a whole, affirming our responsibility to comport with societal codes of conduct. At bottom, the criminal justice system is about society, not individual survivors. No wonder so many survivors feel as though they were used by the prosecution in their case, treated as glorified pieces of evidence.
The civil justice system is quite different. In a private lawsuit, the parties responsible for your suffering can be held accountable to you as an individual. It's not about society, or the whims of a criminal prosecutor. Private lawsuits are all about you, the plaintiff, the person leveling the claim for compensation in the first place. Your story is at the core of this process.
It's an unfortunate reality of our current legal system that the criminal justice system, for all its prosecutors and judges, is not designed to support survivors. In particular, the topic of financial compensation is rarely broached. The civil justice system is where this necessary support becomes a reality. Your interests aren't an afterthought; they're the core of what we do.
Thanks to New Jersey's strong history of civil law, survivors have been granted an additional avenue to pursue justice. If you were violated by a criminal offender, New Jersey law empowers you to file a civil lawsuit and demand accountability from the responsible parties.
Sexual abuse and sexual assault come in numerous forms. These crimes can be committed by any abuser, against anyone, at any time. In most cases, however, sexual misconduct comes from a place we least expect it - from someone we know, even someone we trust.
It could be a priest, deacon or rabbi. It could be a trusted family doctor, a nursing home employee or hospital staff member. Acquaintances, family members, friends - sexual misconduct can come from anywhere.
New Jersey's strong criminal code holds the direct perpetrators of sexual misconduct accountable for their crimes. The state's criminal laws have been crafted over the course of decades by generation after generation of legislators. The purpose of the criminal justice system is to confirm responsibility and impose punishment.
But there is a separate set of laws, distinct from the criminal justice system, a code of conduct that guides our behavior in civil life. We should not touch other people when they don't want us to. We should never abuse a child. We should never put a person in fear of imminent harm, and we should never intentionally inflict emotional distress on another person.
These rules are found in New Jersey's civil code, a vast body of rules and guidelines developed over centuries through court decisions and legal interpretation. The civil code outlines a number of legitimate causes of action - reasons to sue someone else for financial compensation.
Causes of action vary depending on who you plan to sue. As we've already mentioned, New Jersey civil law allows survivors to file two different kinds of lawsuits, ones against direct perpetrators - individual criminal offenders - and ones against negligent third-party defendants. These two types of lawsuit depend on different legal theories. While third-party lawsuits are governed by the doctrine of negligence, lawsuits against first-party criminal offenders tend to rely on what are known as intentional torts (a tort is simply a form of wrongdoing recognized in civil courts).
In the vast majority of cases, lawsuits filed against first-party criminal offenders rely on three intentional torts. As the name implies, these forms of wrongdoing require a finding of either intention (the defendant intended to cause harm) or extreme recklessness (the defendant acted in callous disregard of the effects of their actions on another person).
Needless to say, the vast majority of sexual assault and abuse cases fulfill the requirements for both assault and battery. Most also fulfill the requirements for intentional infliction of emotional distress, though proving this claim in court can be tricky. It's important to remember that these are intentional torts, requiring a finding of intention on the offender's part.
In addition to pursuing justice against direct offenders, New Jersey law allows survivors and their families to file suit against institutions, organizations, and individuals that enable sexual abuse and sexual assault. These third-party defendant lawsuits don't rely on the intentional torts we just described. Instead, the legal theory of negligence becomes crucial.
In simple terms, negligence is the failure to uphold a pre-existing legal duty, either through a mistake, error or failure to use reasonable care in fulfilling the duty. The legal doctrine of negligence recognizes that certain people and organizations owe other people a duty to use reasonable care. This concept should be clear from the example of a physician. Doctors owe their patients a duty to comply with recognized standards of medical practice. Any doctor who violates those standards, causing harm, has committed negligence.
Just like our example of the doctor, millions of organizations, institutions, and individuals owe other people a duty of care. In many cases, this duty entails an obligation to provide adequate protection against criminal activity, including sexual abuse and sexual assault.
Employers owe their employees a duty to maintain a reasonably safe workplace, one free of sex assault and sexual harassment. Churches owe their followers a duty to ensure that no priests sexually abuse children under their watch. Businesses small and large owe their customers a duty to provide adequate security.
The theory of negligence also recognizes that direct offenders aren't the only ones who facilitate sexual misconduct. The responsibility is also borne by organizations, institutions, businesses, and other individuals in charge of monitoring the activities of direct offenders. This is the power of the civil justice system. Despite bearing responsibility for allowing the actions of direct offenders, most negligent third parties will never face any liability in the criminal justice system.
But in the civil justice system, these parties are still on the hook. If you or a loved one has recently been victimized in a crime of a sexual nature, it's important to understand your state's laws. From Newark and Trenton to Atlantic City and Wildwood, holding a predator criminally responsible is a key aspect of the healing process. We recommend meeting with an experienced sexual assault lawyer in NJ who can help guide you during your recovery.
New Jersey's powerful history of civil common law empowers sexual abuse and sexual assault survivors to file private lawsuits against the responsible parties. However, the time to pursue justice may be limited. A law known as the statute of limitations acts as a legal time limit, restricting the amount of time you have to file a suit. Our experienced attorneys can help.
In New Jersey, different statutes of limitations hold for forms of sexual assault and sexual abuse. The statute of limitations for criminal cases of sexual assault involving adult survivors is currently set at 2 years, beginning on the date of the assault, or within 7 years of the date you realized the harm the assault has caused you, whichever date comes later.
A new law in New Jersey has expanded the statute of limitations for child sex abuse survivors. Thanks to this new law, childhood sexual abuse survivors have until their 55th birthday to file suit against the responsible parties, or within 7 years of the date they realize the harm the effects of abuse have caused.
In addition to these changes, the new law is set to open a two-year window for victims who were previously barred by the statute of limitations. Within this two-year window, survivors will be able to file suit over cases of child sexual abuse or child molestation that occurred decades ago, even if they were previously unable to do so because the statute of limitations had already passed.
Victims should do all that they can hold their offender(s) both criminally and financially responsible for the extensive damages they've caused. If you or a loved one have been the victim of sexual abuse, you should contact the police if you haven't already. Additionally, an experienced New Jersey sexual abuse lawyer can help you seek compensation for expenses related to your traumatic incident.
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