Were you or a loved one sexually abused by a priest, deacon or volunteer in the New Jersey Catholic Church? Our experienced attorneys can help. As a survivor of sexual violence, you may be eligible to file a civil lawsuit.
You did nothing wrong. We're here to help. Looking for a law firm for sexual abuse at church? Contact our experienced personal injury attorneys today for a free, confidential consultation.
Once again, the Catholic Church is facing down a national sexual abuse crisis, as survivors across the country step forward to report clergy abuse cases from past decades. In search of justice, many of these survivors have turned to the civil justice system, where victims and their loved ones have the power to file private lawsuits against individual Catholic parishes and Church leaders. Were you or a loved one sexually abused by a Catholic priest, deacon or volunteer in New Jersey? You can begin your personal fight for justice today.
Related Reading: New York Catholic Church Sexual Abuse Lawyers
If you or a loved one were sexually abused by a Catholic priest, deacon or volunteer in New Jersey, our experienced New Jersey sexual abuse law firm is here to help. We believe you, and we believe your story deserves to be told. Our lawyers understand the painful and powerful range of emotions that sexual abuse can cause. Anger, shame, fear, embarrassment - these are natural reactions to a terrible trauma. Know that you are not alone.
You did nothing wrong. This was not your fault. Something terrible happened to you. We understand that it can feel as though closure is impossible, but you can fight back. Thanks to New Jersey's powerful tradition of civil law, you are empowered to pursue justice on your own terms. New Jersey law allows you, as a survivor of sexual abuse, to demand accountability from the people and institutions that harmed you.
You have powerful legal rights. As a survivor of clergy sexual abuse, you may have the power to file a private civil lawsuit against the diocese in which you were abused. New Jersey's Catholic dioceses have been accused of concealing sexual abuse allegations, empowering dangerous sexual predators and silencing victims. These are not idle allegations. As we now know, the Catholic Church has employed a consistent policy of concealing sexual abuse for decades. Significant financial compensation may be available.
Due to human factors, most abusive priests will never be brought to justice in the criminal justice system; there is only so much that criminal prosecutors can do under current criminal law. More to the point, there is almost no hope that the New Jersey Catholic Church, as an organization and system of power, will ever face criminal liability for misconduct over the years. These complex cases are not designed for the criminal justice system.
The civil justice system offers an alternative avenue for justice. In a private lawsuit, you can take the lead, putting your story and your search for justice at the center of the legal process. This is your lawsuit; there are no criminal prosecutors to worry about. And unlike in the criminal justice system, civil lawsuits can be crafted to tell nuanced stories of negligence and misconduct, ones that include both individual priests and entire Church institutions.
Thankfully, New Jersey is also prepared to make these stories easier to tell. In a major move forward, New Jersey's state senate has approved a bill to expand the statute of limitations for childhood sexual abuse survivors. If approved, the new law would extend the statute of limitations, a law that restricts the amount of time plaintiffs have to file a private lawsuit.
Under the new bill, survivors would have until their 55th birthday to file a civil suit, or within seven years of the date they discover the link between the abuse and their injuries, whichever date comes later. Current law provides victims only two years. But the law would go even further, opening a 2-year "window of justice" for survivors whose claims were previously barred by the statute of limitations. Within this 2-year window, survivors who were historically barred from filing suit would again gain the right to pursue a civil case.
A landmark new report on clergy sexual abuse has substantiated much of what survivors and advocates believed about the Catholic Church's decades-long efforts to conceal sexual abuse allegations and silence survivors. Released in 2018 by Pennsylvania's attorney general, the grand jury report represented the largest investigation into sexual abuse within the Catholic Church ever conducted by a governmental agency.
The results of the grand jury report are shocking. Reviewing over 2 million documents subpoenaed from the Catholic Church, jurors in Pennsylvania identified over 300 Catholic priests and order clergy who had been credibly accused of sexual abuse over the past seven decades, representing more than 1,000 child victims.
There is no reason to believe that the situation in New Jersey is much different. Even now, New Jersey's five dioceses - Newark, Camden, Paterson, Metuchen and Trenton - have released what they say is a list of the names of every priest and deacon "credibly accused" of sexually abusing children - nearly 200 clergy members over eight decades.
At the same time, New Jersey's churches are working to patch over the scandal, announcing the establishment of a state-wide compensation program to offer monetary payouts to sexual abuse victims and their loved ones. The New Jersey Compensation Fund for Victims of Church Sexual Abuse of Minors is set to be administered by Kenneth R. Feinberg and Camille S. Biros, two victim compensation experts who have managed similar funds in New York and Pennsylvania. Compensation awards will be sourced from Church, not public, funds.
But many critics say the awards offered through the New Jersey Compensation Fund for Victims of Church Sexual Abuse of Minors are likely to prove inadequate. In fact, some observers have suggested that the New Jersey clergy abuse compensation program is simply a callous tactic employed by the Church to head off private civil lawsuits.
It should be noted that survivors who secure compensation through the state fund become ineligible to file a personal injury lawsuit against the Church. Victims who accept the compensation program's award are required to sign a release form that absolves the involved diocese of any further liability in the matter, including additional litigation.
While there is no cap set on compensation awards from the New Jersey program, it's also important to recognize that the largest payout recorded from the similar program in New York topped out at $500,000. In a private civil lawsuit, survivors stand to gain far more. Recent court verdicts against the Catholic Church commonly range in the millions.
Below is a list of all of the priests who have been named by New Jersey's Catholic dioceses. These men have been the subject of "credible" sexual abuse allegations at some point in the past. We've organized the names by diocese; to jump straight to your diocese, click on one of the links below:
New Jersey church leaders have already admitted that these lists are incomplete. More names are expected to be added as new allegations emerge. Further, as SNAP New Jersey director Mark Crawford noted in an interview with Patch, the lists released by New Jersey dioceses do not yet document the names of priests with New Jersey ties who served in religious orders or ran Catholic schools. Crawford believes that at least 100 accused priests have yet to be announced. Also missing from the list? The names of 10 Jesuits who worked in New Jersey parishes; their names were part of a similar list published by USA Northeast Province Jesuits:
USA Northeast Province Jesuits says its list includes priests who were the subject of credible sexual abuse allegations going back to 1950.