Delbarton Argues NJ Victims Rights Bill is Unconstitutional and Loses
In a Hail Mary move to roll back legislation that has already benefited communities throughout New Jersey, a catholic religious order filed a motion to overturn New Jersey’s 2019 Victim’s Rights Bill as unconstitutional. Fortunately, their motion was dismissed and the law – one of the best in the nation – remains on the books.
Attorneys for Delbarton, a school operated by the Benedictine order, argued that the Victims Rights Bill (S477) was unconstitutional in an attempt to avoid responsibility in a current clergy sexual abuse lawsuit. Rather than fight the lawsuit on its merits, Delbarton chose to fight on a technicality. We are glad that Judge Peter Bogaard saw through their argument and denied the Delbarton motion.
This story is a reminder of the challenges faced by survivors as they come forward and seek justice. By allowing these cases to be heard, children and communities are safer as abusers are made public and institutions held responsible. We are grateful for the attorneys and survivors fighting on the side of justice and prevention and hope their example inspires other survivors to come forward.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for 30 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)