TRENTON – Senator Joseph F. Vitale, D-Middlesex, the prime sponsor of legislation to remove the legal protection for charities that negligently put children in harm’s way by hiding sexual predators within the institutional framework of the charity, issued the following statement on its passage today in the Senate by a vote of 34-1, receiving final legislative approval:
“Today, we are one step closer to having true justice for the victims of sexual abuse who have had to suffer because of the deceitful and negligent actions of charities that have turned a blind eye towards sexual predators in their midst.
“The identities of these predators have been willfully and intentionally hidden from the public as a matter of institutional doctrine, and as such, they’ve been able to act in secret for years, sometimes decades, victimizing children and then being reassigned to another parish, another school, another assignment.
“We cannot ignore that this was done to our kids any longer. We cannot simply accept this as a matter of the private rules of charitable organizations. These were conspiracies that led to the continued and prolonged sexual abuse of hundreds of children in New Jersey alone.
“We are now one step from law, and it’s been a long legislative process. But in the end, it will be worth it, to protect children into the future from sexual abuse, and to bring justice to those that have had to live through the horror of abuse. This bill will finally address a very grievous wrong, and will send the message that, sexual abuse of minors will not be tolerated, in whatever setting it may occur.”