New Jersey's 39th Legislative District

Senator Gerald Cardinale

Senator Gerald Cardinale

Cardinale Statement on Bill to Remove Statute of Limitations for Sexual Assault Civil Actions

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Senator Gerald Cardinale (R-39) made the following remarks to the Senate Judiciary Committee during the consideration of S-477, legislation that would remove the statute of limitations in certain civil actions for sexual abuse:

Sen. Gerald Cardinale’s remarks to the Senate Judiciary Commitee on S-477, legislation that would remove the statute of limitations in certain civil actions for sexual abuse. (©iStock)

“We have come a long way since 1983, when Lisa Hodge was not permitted to tell this Committee how our court system failed her. She was raped by her stepfather repeatedly starting at the age of 10. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to about 60 or so days in jail. That sentence was upheld on appeal.

“Ms. Hodge tried to tell this Committee to deny reappointment to one of the Judges, Sylvia Pressler, but there were only two ‘No’ votes. Sylvia Pressler was reappointed, because this Committee, and this Senate, was insensitive to the gravity of pedophilia.

“We have since passed Megan’s Law, which made it easier to criminally prosecute offenders. Our Supreme Court has since ordered our judges to impose the sentences our law provides.

“Our society today has a better understanding of this issue than ever before. The brave testimony of victims has been important. We know the gravity of the problem, but S-477 is not the answer. This bill will not deter pedophiles in the long run. Deterring pedophiles from committing criminal acts is nearly impossible. We have to lock them away. I am having a bill drafted that would do that.

“Imposing a secondary monetary liability on nonprofits will make some people feel good, but it won’t stop these crimes – pedophiles will only change their methods. Instead, we will risk losing the benefit of the good things that nonprofits provide for so many.

“The harm this bill’s passage will do, is deflect us from what we really should be doing: enhancing enforcement mechanisms and criminal penalties for the perpetrators and their abettors. That’s what has a chance to work.

“While I support the intentions of this bill and its sponsor, I must vote ‘No.'”

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