Sexual Assault and Sexual Abuse

New Jersey residents will be hard pressed to find more qualified attorneys than those at the Fuggi Law Firm in Toms River. "To be a successful trial lawyer, you have to care about your clients and you have to believe in them," a tenet he believes wholeheartedly.

Robert R. Fuggi, Jr. and the Fuggi Law Firm have been involved in numerous high-profile cases that have received national attention. He, along with his litigation staff of attorneys and paralegals, has built one of the most successful law firms in Ocean County and throughout the state of New Jersey. "We represent those that need a voice." He attempts to handle cases that other firms aren't interested in or may be too complex. The firm, which was formed as a workers' compensation litigation practice, has morphed over the years into handling complex and difficult litigation and high-profile cases.

"We're a litigation law firm, so all the areas of law are related to litigation. We have probably had several really highprofile statewide and nationwide cases that have received a lot of recognition. We exposed institutional abuse extending back decades at a fairly good-sized church in New Jersey. The pastor, who has since died, had sexually abused children in the area, children attending the affiliated school and altar boys." Robert Fuggi is often approached to handle sexual abuse cases against religious organizations and other institutions.

"Since I had significant trial experience compiled with a strong theological background (2 degrees from Princeton, M.Div. and Th.M.), we began to represent victims of institutional and clergy sexual abuse. Many firms would not take on these types of cases because of the complexities of the statute of limitations. We believed the victims needed a voice and legal representation, so we began to litigate these cases. The results were surprising; we were able to successfully navigate the legal thresholds and obtain favorable resolutions on a large scale."

Robert R. Fuggi and the Fuggi Law Firm continue with that representation, setting the legal standard in sex abuse cases and trials statewide against many organizations. "A monsignor on the opposing side of one of these cases told me in the throngs of litigation that 'We are doing God's work.'"

By excellence and professionalism, they represent clients aggressively. Many cases are very difficult. "There were well over 20 plaintiffs in the case as well as witnesses. I was dealing with many people. It was a tremendous amount of work and took almost five years to bring to a resolution."

When Robert Fuggi and his team set out on this lawsuit, they were operating under difficult circumstances. "The main issue with a lot of these cases is that many times the lawsuit is filed 20, 30 or even 40 years after the incidents happened. In New Jersey, there is a two year statute of limitations for personal injury cases." At the time, the statute of limitations was harsh, making recovery a herculean task. "We took the cases anyway and advocated for these victims' rights. It was the socially responsible thing to do. Sometimes when you're not able to obtain the relief you deserve, you need to go to trial." We have been successful in bringing cases against public schools, churches, non-profit organizations, for-profit organizations and day schools.

The statute of limitations for childhood sexual abuse cases is very different from the regular two-year statute of limitations for other personal injury lawsuits. Many people who were abused as children don't acknowledge the abuse and don't understand the long-term effects it has had on them. It may be years later, when they enter therapy or treatment for a mental health problem, alcoholism or drug addiction, that they finally face the abuse issues. For sexual abuse cases, the statute of limitations clock begins the moment the person realizes he or she was a victim. Evidence will still need to be gathered and a strong case made to support the claim - this is the Fuggi Law Firm's area of strength.

Robert R. Fuggi and the Fuggi Law Firm are a singular voice in the representation against institutions for sexually abused people, no matter what age. We will continue to be a voice of the oppressed.

EXPAND THE LAW OF SEXUAL ABUSE

Robert R. Fuggi and the Fuggi Law Firm are spearheading a change of law in the upper courts to expand protection to minor children in public school settings. As the law stands now, children in boarding schools are considered "in the household" as compared to children that that are in public schools. We believe that this expansion of Hardwicke is necessary to keep in line with changing societal practice, where the school is and has been a second home or household for thousands of children statewide. This will ensure equal protection under the law.