What is Child Sex Abuse?
Any form of contact involving inappropriate or sexual behavior with a minor constitutes child sex abuse. In New Jersey, that means any sexual behavior or contact with someone under the age of 18 qualifies as child sex abuse.
A common misconception about child sex abuse is that it must involve physical contact with a minor; the truth is that any inappropriate sexual behavior involving a minor constitutes abuse. This can include exposing oneself to the minor, masturbation in the presence of the minor, obscene phone calls/texts/digital interactions, the production and ownership of pornographic images involving minors, and any other emotional or mental conduct with minors that are sexual in nature. In addition to the above, any physical sexual conduct or contact with minors is illegal and also counts as child sex abuse in the state of New Jersey.
What do Abusers look like? How can they be identified?
The majority of abusers in child sex abuse cases know their victims; they may be a family friend, distant relative, coach, or neighbor. The sad truth is that often these victims aren’t random. “34% of people who sexually abused a child are family members.” (InvisibleChildren.org) Even worse, many victims remain silent about the abuse for fear of retribution or further abuse. It is estimated that up to “1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys will be sexually abused before they turn 18 years old.”Id. While identifying an abuser is difficult, it is important to be vigilant and to have open dialogues with your children. Keep an eye out for warning signs.
If you were/are the victim of abuse it’s important to speak up. Don't become one of the thousands of nameless victims of sexual abuse. It is important to seek the appropriate medical, psychological and legal counsel to help cope with the aftermath of abuse. The attorneys at Snyder Sarno D’Aniello Maceri & da Costa LLC, are highly sensitive to the needs of abuse victims. Our attorneys are compassionate and sensitive to the needs of their clients, while maintaining strong and aggressive legal representation in the courtroom.
What are the statute of limitations for Child Sex Abuse in NJ?
That statute of limitations in New Jersey had traditionally been two years, or after a victim reached the age of 20 they would no longer be able to pursue litigation. However, in February of 2019 Governor Murphy signed a new law that extends the statute of limitations allowing victims the right to file suit “within 37 years after the minor reaches the age of majority, or within seven years from the date of reasonable discovery of the injury and its causal relationship to the act, whichever date is later.” In other words, a person can file suit up to the age of 55 (if they connected their injury to the abuse after the age of 55 a person may still be able to file suit). The new parameters take effect on December 1st, 2019.
What can I expect from pursuing a child sex abuse case?
Unfortunately, nothing can be done to reverse sexual abuse; no one can stop something from happening if it has already occurred. That being said, there are many different options for victims to help overcome their abuse. At SSDMD, we recognize that pursuing abusers legally isn’t an option everyone wishes to pursue, and our primary goal will always be to help those who have experienced great wrongs as best as we can. Paul M. da Costa and his team are highly experienced in sensitive cases and work regularly with doctors and psychiatrists capable of helping one understand and overcome the emotional damage abuse can cause.
If legal recourse is an option you wish to pursue, Paul da Costa and his team are highly qualified, well recognized, and experienced in such cases. They can and will provide you with strong, aggressive legal representation. Mr. da Costa’s track record for high verdicts is celebrated within the community and the representation he provides his clients is highly regarded. He will do everything within his power to bring a positive verdict to the case and to ensure that your abuser does not and cannot continue to harm you or others. We cannot erase the abuse, but we can do everything in our power to help you own the narrative and overcome it.
Where can I get help?
Paul da Costa, Esq. and the rest of the attorneys at SSDMD are highly experienced in handling sensitive cases like this. They recognize the importance of strong, aggressive legal counsel in the courtroom and compassionate, sensitive guidance in the office. Paul dedicates his practice to protecting the rights of all individuals that have been wronged through no fault of their own. He has experience in handling cases involving sexual tort claims against religious institutions and mental health professionals. Through his tenacious and diligent advocacy, Mr. da Costa makes it his priority to “right the wrongs” that have been forced upon his clients. Mr. da Costa is not afraid to take cases to trial because he is a firm believer that pursuing the truth through litigation will prevent potential future wrongs.
Due to the depth and nuances of these types of cases, it is important to meet with a trained attorney who has experience handling cases of this of nature. During a consultation, we can meet with you to discuss your case, explain your options, and let you know the proper course of action. Please contact Paul M. da Costa at (973) 274-5200 or PdaCosta@snydersarno.com to set up a meeting at one of our three New Jersey offices.