Claims of clergy abuse allegedly committed by a Newark priest over four decades ago have recently come to light resulting in new charges being filed against the Newark Diocese. According to two lawsuits recently filed in the Superior Court of Essex County, a deceased priest who worked in the Newark diocese engaged in sexual misconduct with underage boys while they attended a local Catholic school, Our Lady Help of Christians. Both plaintiffs alleged the abuse occurred decades ago and included inappropriate sexual contact over a period of several years. The named priest, who died in 1988, was believed to have been a serial sexual abuse offender whose name appears on the Church’s list of credibly accused priests.
Both lawsuits include allegations that the Newark diocese failed to protect children from ongoing sexual abuse and committed negligence by allowing the accused priest to work with school children. This is not the first time the Catholic Church has faced accusations of covering up abuse, including relocating sexual predators from one parish to another, hiding accused priests from law enforcement, and pressuring survivors to remain silent. The families of survivors recall reporting the abuse to the school or parish where the abuse occurred but received no assistance. In response to continuing allegations of abuse, the Catholic Church has publicly stated a commitment to support all clergy abuse survivors and promote greater transparency in handling sexual abuse allegations.
Changes in New Jersey’s statute of limitations have provided survivors with a two-year “window” to bring claims, regardless of the amount of time that has passed since the abuse occurred. Many survivors who experienced abuse as children have been unable to seek the justice they deserve due to expired statute of limitations. New Jersey’s two-year window applies to claims against the sexual predator, as well as organizations for which they worked, including churches, schools, and other community organizations.
In New Jersey, individuals who experienced clergy abuse now have the right to seek justice in a court of law, even if the abuse occurred many years ago. By filing a civil lawsuit, survivors can hold the responsible accountable. Survivors can be entitled to compensation for the costs of medical and psychological treatment, lost wages, and pain and suffering damages.
If you experienced sexual abuse at the hands of a trusted clergy member, you are not alone. The experienced Metuchen clergy abuse lawyers at Williams Cedar stand by survivors of clergy abuse as they seek compensation for the trauma they endured. Our offices are conveniently located in Philadelphia and Haddonfield, New Jersey. To schedule a free consultation, call us today at 856-470-9777 or submit an online inquiry form.