Victims of sex abuse testify before lawmakers on statute of limitation bill

Posted: Updated:

New Jersey lawmakers heard testimony on legislation to loosen restrictions on when childhood sexual abuse victims can seek damages in court.

The Democrat-led Senate Judiciary Committee advanced the legislation Thursday after hearing testimony from a packed hearing room in Trenton.

The legislation would allow child victims to sue up until they turn 55 or within seven years of their first realization that the abuse caused them harm. The current limit is two years. Adult victims also would have seven years from the discovery of the abuse.

RELATED: Lawmakers to hear testimony about ending statute of limitations on sex abuse 

The bill also would give a two-year window to victims who were previously barred by the statute of limitations.

Among those who testified were victims of sexual abuse by members of the clergy, along with Katie Brennan – a Murphy administration employee who accused a former Murphy staffer of rape while they both were working on Murphy’s gubernatorial campaign. Brennan was a volunteer at the time.

The bill is opposed by the New Jersey Catholic Conference, which wants more time to settle claims through a new compensation fund which starts this summer.

Legislation to modify New Jersey's laws has been on lawmakers' radar for nearly a decade.

The bill now heads to the full New Jersey Senate for a vote.

The Associated Press wire services contributed to this report.

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