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#84188 - 08/08/06 08:53 PM Good News for NJ
Trish4850 Offline
BoD Liaison Emeritus
MaleSurvivor<

Registered: 10/15/05
Posts: 3280
Loc: New Jersey
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/14248355/from/RS.3/

TRENTON, N.J. - A state law protecting nonprofit organizations from negligence lawsuits does not apply to all sex abuse cases, the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled Tuesday.

The ruling allows John W. Hardwicke Jr. to continue his lawsuit against the American Boychoir School in Princeton. Hardwicke alleges that he was repeatedly molested by the school’s music director and three other employees from 1969-1971, when he attended the school.

In its 5-1 ruling, the court reasoned that the state’s Charitable Immunity Act protects charities from negligence claims only, not from claims that are based on “willful, wanton or grossly negligent conduct.”

Hardwicke fought for the right to sue the school, contending that a state law protecting nonprofits from negligence lawsuits doesn’t apply to sex abuse cases.

The school argued that it is neither a “natural person” nor an individual standing in for a parent, two standards indicating legal liability. Therefore, the school said it should be immune from negligence suits such as Hardwicke’s.

A state appeals court in March sided with Hardwicke, ruling that his case could move forward. The Supreme Court decision Tuesday allows the case to go to trial.

In January, a bill was passed by the Legislature and signed into law by then-Gov. Richard J. Codey making New Jersey the 48th state to allow victims of childhood sex abuse to sue churches, schools and other nonprofits for the actions of their staff.

_________________________
If you fall down 10 times, Stand up 11.

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#84189 - 08/08/06 09:03 PM Re: Good News for NJ
roadrunner Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 05/02/05
Posts: 22045
Loc: Carlisle, PA
Trish,

That's VERY good news. I remember all the sick news from the Boychoir School. It looks like they are well and truly finished now.

Thanks for posting this.

Much love,
Larry

_________________________
Nobody living can ever stop me
As I go walking my freedom highway.
Nobody living can make me turn back:
This land was made for you and me.
(Woody Guthrie)

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#84190 - 08/08/06 09:59 PM Re: Good News for NJ
reality2k4 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 07/06/04
Posts: 6838
Loc: Stuck between water, air, and ...
Nothing should stand in the way of abuse of kids.
No law nor statute should ever imply that abusers can stand behind law.

There should never be laws or statutes of limitation on CSA, and nobody should be beyond the law if they are perps,

ste

_________________________
Whoever stole the Sun, put it back and we'll drop all the charges!

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#84191 - 08/08/06 10:26 PM Re: Good News for NJ
Trish4850 Offline
BoD Liaison Emeritus
MaleSurvivor<

Registered: 10/15/05
Posts: 3280
Loc: New Jersey
I agree 100% Ste. Unfortunately, some fools decided that charitable immunity was an all encompassing concept in it's protection of charitable/non-profit institutions. It's horrible that those who were victimized have to fight for their rights, but fight they do.

I'm fairly certain the school will take this to a Circuit Court so Mr. Hardwicke will only be able to catch his breath and enjoy this victory for a short time. I'm also fairly certain that the Circuit Court will hand him another victory because it's right and, thank goodness, the court's are finally seeing that they cannot and should not assist an instution in protecting criminals.

Saying that these things never should have occurred in the first place, while absolutely true, doesn't undo it. I believe we should celebrate and be happy when the tide turns in favor of those who seek justice and encourage those who are fighting the fight to keep going because they are not alone.

I think I'll write to Mr. Hardwicke, if I can find out where, to give him my support. I'm sure he's tired, but I'm also sure he'll keep doing what's right for himself and others.

ROCK ON.......Trish

_________________________
If you fall down 10 times, Stand up 11.

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#84192 - 08/09/06 09:03 AM Re: Good News for NJ
roadrunner Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 05/02/05
Posts: 22045
Loc: Carlisle, PA
Trish,

The real jag is that for years the Boychoir School KNEW the abuse was going on, yet did nothing to stop it or discipline the offending faculty. They were more interested in covering up the abuse and protecting the "reputation" of their school.

Well, look at the reputation of the school now!

If you find a way to contact Hardwicke could you let me know? I would like to write to him as well.

Much love,
Larry

_________________________
Nobody living can ever stop me
As I go walking my freedom highway.
Nobody living can make me turn back:
This land was made for you and me.
(Woody Guthrie)

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#84193 - 08/09/06 09:19 PM Re: Good News for NJ
MurrayNYC Offline
Past President
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 03/30/02
Posts: 141
Loc: New York
anyone who wants to contact John Hardwicke can email me and I will ask him if it's OK to pass on his email.

Did you all see teh article about him and his high profile attorney who was also abused at the Am Boy Choir school?

http://nymag.com/nymetro/news/features/12061/index.html

Murray


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#84194 - 08/09/06 09:58 PM Re: Good News for NJ
reality2k4 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 07/06/04
Posts: 6838
Loc: Stuck between water, air, and ...
Murray,

I am glad that this lawyer is true to the cause.
It is so hard for lawyers to estimate the hardship caused by abuse.

The hardest thing I can think of, is that kids get abused whilst singing to God!
What were they being taught to do! That God wanted them to be abused in the process of losing their innocence.

This episode is deeply depressing in its entirety, and nobody wanted to take responsibility for their actions.

Sounds like complicity,

ste

_________________________
Whoever stole the Sun, put it back and we'll drop all the charges!

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#84195 - 08/10/06 05:49 AM Re: Good News for NJ
NJadvocate Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 01/28/06
Posts: 10
Loc: New Jersey
Trish...just some clarification on the Hardwicke ruling. It was in fact the NJ Supreme court which, in this ruling not only upheld an appelate court ruling from December of 04, but expanded it.

John started his case in 2001 and it was tossed out by a Mercer county judge who said Charitable Immunity trumped his right to a trial, even if the schools action was wanton, willful even criminal. The case was later reinstated by the Appelate division in December 03 and oral arguments were made to the Supreme Court in December 04. Finally ruling yesterday, the supreme court went even further and clarified many things making it a bit easier for child sex abuse victims to bring action against such institutions.

Further, in January of this year, then Governor Codey signed a bill I initiated (fighting since 1999), this new law effectively wipes out charitable immunity as a defense, lowered the threshold from gross negligence to simple negligence and did so RETROACTIVELY. So Charitable Immunity in NJ can NEVER be used as a defense again....regardless of when the abuse occured.

BUT NJ IS NOT ALL OKAY...we still have a horrible Statute of Limitations which is only 2 years from the age of majority (18), which gives a survivor until the age of 20 or 2 years from when the abuse occured with 1 exception. He or she must prove that they only recently (within the last 2 years, if they are beyond the age of 20) made the connection between their abuse and the harm they incurred as a result of that abuse. The delayed discovery exception is a good thing but hard to sometimes prove and 2 years is one of the shortest and worst in the nation. I with John am about to go to work here in NJ to fix that. Stay tuned for more in about a week or so.

Getting back to the American Boychoir School. Their school President stated in one of the MANY articles which ran on Wednesday that they want to see this case resolved so the school and Mr. Hardwicke can go on. More Spin

I find this statement VERY disengenuine \:\( . Why have they vigorously opposed his case since 2001. Further, the school says they have addressed this issue and there no longer is a problem...what a bunch of crap! If you go to the schools website http://www.Americanboychoir.org you will see on their link regarding child protection, they attack John Hardwicke and another mother who testified before the NJ Assembly. When she went to the school to complain about her son being sexually abused by another student (only a few years ago, 2002) they turned around and suspended him for not reporting the abuse to the school, he was either 10 or 12 years old at the time. This school not unlike many of the bishops in the Catholic Church, just refuse to be accountable!

The school in it's statement to the press also claims it is a victim of the Choir Master who abused John. Yet they drove him to Canada for a concert and he never returned to answer John's action. In fact the school gave him a glowing recommendation after they were aware he had abused other boys.

No the school has not changed and only has itself and its attorneys to blame for allowing this festering wound to continue \:\( .

For those not familair...victims say there were scores of boys abused at this school for decades. The cook, grounds keeper, faculty, choir director and at times the neighbors abused these boys in class, in the hallways, in their bedrooms, on tours etc...

JUST SICKENING!!!

The school and like institutions in NJ MUST be investigated!

FOR THOSE WHO WOULD LIKE TO CONTACT JOHN HARDWICKE...

he maintains a necessary website where the truth of the abuse for many is told...listen to the audio clips on each page, you can go to
http://www.americanboyschoir.com and you can leave him a message there by contacting the webmaster or you can contact me as well for his e-mail address.

Many articles on the Supreme Court decision ran on the front page on Wednesday in the Star Ledger, Jersey Journal, Press of Atlantic City, The Trenton Times, The Trentonian, the Courier and many other papers. Please find the articles (Google Search NEWS and put in John Hardwicke)on-line and write a Letter to the Editor to any of these papers. Write them about the need for NJ law enforcement to investigate this school and/or the Church to uncover the truth about their abusive past histories. Tell them what you think of the American Boychoir school and tell them that the Statute of limitations MUST change here in NJ.

IT'S TIME FOR THE AMERICAN BOYCHOIR SCHOOL TO SING A NEW TUNE! If they really want to make John Hardwicke whole, they must exhibit a willingness to accept accountability, and speak with a contrite heart, again the response they posted on their own website (child protection link)shows they are note there yet! Here's to hoping for a real conversion!

Sorry for the long response.

Thanks, Mark Crawford
Co-Director NJ SNAP
Director, FixTheLaw.org
former MaleSurvivor Board member


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#84196 - 08/10/06 02:29 PM Re: Good News for NJ
Trish4850 Offline
BoD Liaison Emeritus
MaleSurvivor<

Registered: 10/15/05
Posts: 3280
Loc: New Jersey
Thanks for the additional info Murray. I did read the article about the lawyer. It sucks that he too was a victim of this organization, but it just makes his resolve and representation of John that much stronger.

Mark - good stuff! I'll definately leave a note for John at the website as well as all of the things you suggest.

ROCK ON........Trish

_________________________
If you fall down 10 times, Stand up 11.

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#84197 - 08/10/06 02:50 PM Re: Good News for NJ
roadrunner Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 05/02/05
Posts: 22045
Loc: Carlisle, PA
Quote:
The cook, grounds keeper, faculty, choir director and at times the neighbors abused these boys in class, in the hallways, in their bedrooms, on tours etc...
This is absolutely heartbreaking. Just imagine what this must have been like for those boys, condemned to this while the facade of a wonderful school was maintained for the outside world.

Much love,
Larry

_________________________
Nobody living can ever stop me
As I go walking my freedom highway.
Nobody living can make me turn back:
This land was made for you and me.
(Woody Guthrie)

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