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$750,000 Jury Verdict Awarded in Child Sex Abuse Trial Against Salem County

Mar 27, 2024 | Sexual Abuse

Last week, a unanimous New Jersey jury verdict awarded $750,000 to our client who survived child sex abuse in a case against the County of Salem.  

The verdict, issued from Salem County Superior Court in Salem County, found the county liable for failing to supervise and protect our then 14-year-old client from sustained grooming and sexual abuse while he was in the state’s Juveniles in Need of Supervision (JINS) facility.  

The County of Salem’s negligence exposed the plaintiff to numerous instances of sexual abuse by the 40-year-old youth aide worker in charge of his care, as well as aiding and abetting our client in running away from the facility for the express purpose of engaging in further sexual abuse with our client. Throughout the course of the abuse, several staff members, residents, and the defendant’s supervisors heard rumors and saw warning signs of the abuse but ignored it or failed to take any disciplinary action. 

Lesley O’Neill, Partner at Pfau Cochran Vertetis Amala PLLC (“PCVA”), stressed the state’s glaring negligence in allowing the abuse to go unchecked for years at length: “This is an appalling case of a child being targeted, groomed and preyed upon by the person sworn to protect him. The State of New Jersey failed to supervise and protect our client, despite multiple employees being aware of the sexual abuse occurring right under their noses. The verdict sends a signal to institutions that failing to take accountability and do the right thing has consequences.”  

 The case was filed under New Jersey’s landmark legislation, S477 – the Child Victims Act, which opened a two-year window that suspended the statute of limitations for civil claims arising from child sexual abuse and provided our client and other survivors with a unique, unprecedented opportunity to seek restitution and accountability for the abuse they suffered. We represent nearly 175 Childs Victim Act related cases across the state of New Jersey alongside Rebenack, Aronow & Mascolo (RAM Law). 

About PCVA Law 

 At Pfau Cochran Vertetis Amala, we are proud to be one of the leading law firms in the United States fighting for the rights of sexual abuse survivors, representing more than 1,000 people who have filed lawsuits under the Child Victims Act and Adult Survivors Act in New York and hundreds of cases in New Jersey for the Child Victims Act, as well as many more people who are survivors of abuse and injury in Washington and California. 

If you or someone you know has been or is believed to be the victim of sexual abuse while in the care of an institution, we encourage you to speak to a PCVA lawyer for free by completing our online form or calling us at (253) 289-1412 or (206) 451-8260. 

Read more about this Jury Verdict Win Against Salem County, New Jersey: