My stepfather molested me from the age of 13 to 14. Has the statute of limitations been lifted so I can sue him civilly ?

Asked almost 2 years ago - Lumberton, NJ

He was in the Air Force and had written a letter to my mom telling her what he wanted to do to us. I was unable to tell her what was happening to me because I just wanted to get it out of my head. Needless to say after years of mental anguish I finally sought therapy and can talk a little about what happened. I also found out he molested my younger sister this past month. What can I do? This took place in New Jersey

Attorney answers (6)

  1. Benjamin G Kelsen

    Contributor Level 17

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    Answered . The Statute of Limitations in New Jersey for a civil tort claim is currently two years.
    There is no time limit on reporting a sexual assault to the police and there is no statute of limitations on sexual assault in New Jersey.

    Sexual assault includes any unwanted or forced touching of a person’s intimate body parts. Penetration does not have to be involved for sexual touching to be against the law.
    A person who is incapacitated because of the effects of drugs or alcohol cannot consent to sexual activity.

    There is currently a bill working its way through the legislature to change the statute of limitations but it is not yet the law.

    Benjamin G. Kelsen IF YOU LIKE THIS ANSWER PLEASE INDICATE YOUR APPRECIATION BY SELECTING IT AS "BEST ANSWER."... more
  2. Eric M. Mark

    Pro

    Contributor Level 20

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    Answered . You don't say how old you are, so it's impossible to say if the statute of limitations has run. It does not begin until you turn 18. Regarding your sister, that should be reported to the police and/or DYFS as soon as possible. You can also look for assistance from the many organizations that work with victims of child abuse and/or sexual abuse. The police or the county prosecutor's office should be able to direct you to these organizations.

  3. Mark M Cheser

    Contributor Level 20

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    Answered . More information is needed. The criminal statute depends on the crime and how old you are now. Civil statute I believe is 2 years but you need to speak with a PI attorney.

  4. Philip L Faccenda

    Pro

    Contributor Level 10

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    Answered . The law requires that a lawsuit based upon claims of child sexual abuse must be filed within two years of the date of the reasonable discovery of the injury and its causal relationship to the act of alleged sexual abuse. The earliest date the deadline could occur is when the victim reached age 20. The statute of limitations requires that suit be filed by your 20th birthday unless you can demonstrate a lawfully sufficient excuse for a delay.
    You might be entitled to sue at a later date if you can establish that your claim meets the two-stage analysis that trial judges conduct to decide whether and for how long the two-year statute of limitations in child sexual abuse suits can be extended. The evaluation involves an objective test of when a reasonable person similarly situated and having the same mental capacity as the victim should have discovered the cause of any injuries, and then a subjective test of whether there are reasons that would justify delaying the two year deadline.
    This is a highly complex analysis but, with the proper proofs presented to the court by a competent attorney, you may be able to present your case, even many decades after the incident occurs if you establish that you were under a disability meeting the above conditions.
    You should consult an attorney experienced in handling this type of claim. Good luck with your case.

    Philip L. Faccenda, Esq.
    Faccenda Law Firm, LLC
    601 Longwood Ave. at Rte. 38
    Cherry Hill, NJ 08002
    856.773.3031
    Phil@FaccendaLaw.com

    Representing Victims of Legal Malpractice, and the Seriously Injured or Disabled.... more
  5. Michael A Ferrara Jr

    Pro

    Contributor Level 13

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    Answered . Cannot answer unless we learn your age and when this occurred. Sorry what happened to you. The general two year rule may not apply in certain circumstances.

    Please note that these answers are provided as a community service and are not meant to create an attorney-client... more
  6. Charles K. Kenyon Jr.

    Contributor Level 19

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    Answered . I do not agree with other counsel that you should report this to the police if you want to recover through a lawsuit unless your stepfather has a lot in the way of assets.

    If you want to have him punished for what he did, that is a different matter.

    Your age now matters. Did this all take place in New Jersey or were any other states involved? (Each state has its own way of figuring a statute of limitations.)

    Confidential information should not be disclosed in this Internet forum. I am a Wisconsin lawyer. The laws in... more

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