After nearly a decade of fighting, three people who say they were molested by former Warren County Sheriff Edward Bullock want their day in court.
"We're asking the court to declare the county what we are calling a 'passive abuser,'" said attorney Jeff Russo, who represents the alleged victims.
On Thursday, Russo and his partners filed a 73-page motion in Warren County Superior Court for a partial summary judgment against Warren County under the New Jersey Child Sexual Abuse Act.
It means the court can decide on the victims' civil lawsuit against the county without going to trial. Bullock is accused of molesting young boys in the 70's and 80's.
A criminal trial ended in a hung jury in 2015 and Bullock died before he could be retried.
Russo said extensive evidence, including multiple depositions from former county employees, proves the county knew about Bullock's behavior but took no action.
The report details sworn testimony from Warren County employees, including Juvenile Detention officers and Warren County sheriff's deputies who, in depositions, stated that Bullock gave special treatment to boys in county custody.
Testimony from a Warren County sheriff's officer under Bullock since 1985 recalled "I would see when, ah, either when I transported a kid from the shelter or Warren Acres or the Sheriff would kindly volunteer, oh, don't worry about it I'll go get that, you can do your duties in the courthouse...but then as time progressed and you saw over and over again, and you started seeing what a lot of the kids started to look like and the way the kids would talk to him. And then it was you know, you, you just knew," according to the statement given in 2013.
'What's really striking about it, is the knowledge. What the county knew and what they did or did not do about it at the time," Russo said.
Warren County has fought lawsuits from other alleged Bullock victims.
Another victim, Jack Jeffress, who is not represented by Russo, is planning a rally for late April to call on the county to admit its alleged wrongdoing.
The county issued a statement last week after a blast of flyers, pamphlets and social media posts. It said in part "Each and every one of these allegations is categorically and unequivocally false. The events that are alleged to have occurred all took place approximately 40 years ago. This was, of course, at least several decades before any of the current County Commissioners were in office."
Russo said his clients were insulted after the statement was issued and decided to move quickly on getting their partial summary judgement heard in court.
A spokesperson for Warren County told 69 News Thursday the county is unaware of any filings in the case.