A New Jersey woman is suing the Catholic school she attended as a young girl, claiming a nun at the institution sexually abused her.
According to a news report, the 62-year-old plaintiff went to Holy Cross School in Rumson, New Jersey, from kindergarten through seventh grade. While in first grade, a nun sexually assaulted the plaintiff by forcing her to “engage in improper sexual contact,” according to the lawsuit. The woman, however, isn’t suing the alleged perpetrator.
The school failed to act, according to the lawsuit
The lawsuit filed by the New Jersey woman names the school itself, Holy Cross Parish, the Diocese of Trenton and former school officials. According to the woman’s account, school administrators were told of the abuse long ago but did nothing in response. They did not remove the nun, nor did they alert police or child protective services.
The plaintiff, five decades later, is seeking damages for severe emotional distress and physical injury. She says the abuse negatively impacted her quality of life and notes she has incurred health care expenses related to the incident she describes.
New Jersey’s statute of limitations
This legal action comes amid a significant change to New Jersey’s civil statute of limitations laws, which went into effect at the end of 2019. The new rules give survivors of child sexual abuse far longer than before to bring a civil personal injury lawsuit. Under this new law, they may sue until they are 55 years old, or within seven years of their first realization the abuse caused them harm.
In addition, any survivor that was previously unable to file a suit because of the statute of limitations now has a two-year window to do so.