May 05, 2005

Child sex abuse victims group to air TV ads to kill charity immunity law

The Morning Call

By Angela Delli Santi
Of The Associated Press

TRENTON | Frustrated over a perceived snub by state lawmakers, child sexual abuse victims are taking to the airwaves.

The group,, is launching a series of cable television commercials demanding a change to the law shielding nonprofits from lawsuits by child molestation victims. The group is dedicated to overturning the shield law, known as charitable immunity, which remains on the books in three states, including New Jersey.

''Lawmakers are really betraying us,'' said John Hardwicke Jr., a group member who said he was abused for two years in Princeton. ''Lawmakers have not done their jobs, so we want people to lobby their lawmakers to get this bill posted.''

The Senate passed legislation last May allowing sex abuse victims to file suit against churches, schools and other charitable organizations, but the measure has stalled in the Assembly.

Assembly Speaker Albio Sires, D-Hudson, who decides which proposed laws advance to the Assembly floor, did not return calls for comment.

His spokesman, Joe Donnelly, on Wednesday said the measure ''is still very much alive and well.''

Donnelly said a sticking point for lawmakers is setting a deadline for filing lawsuits against nonprofits in cases when alleged abuse dates back decades.

Posted by kshaw at May 5, 2005 07:59 AM