New Jersey attorney says charity law protecting church in sex abuse cases

(12/08/04) TRENTON One New Jersey attorney is supporting a bill aimed at taking protection away from the church in possible cases of sexual abuse.

Greg Gianforcaro, who represents victims of alleged sexual abuse by clergy members, says charitable immunity laws have protected the Church for too long. The ordinance dictates charitable organizations can only be held fiscally responsible up to a certain point for their employees actions. In this case, that means the church will only pay up to $20,000 to victims of possible sexual abuse.

Now, a new bill in the Assembly may strike down charitable immunity laws in cases dealing with the sexual abuse of children. Although Gianforcaro and others staunchly support the legislation, others say the bill is bad news. Assemblyman Michael Caroll thinks the bill may pave the way for money-seekers to go after various charities throughout the state.

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