A new report released by the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office on Monday, found that Catholic dioceses in the state had paid out $215 million over the past 70 years to settle sexual abuse claims against priests.
How many cases of abuse in the New Jersey Catholic Church have been reported?
According to ProPublica, almost 200 priests in New Jersey have been “credibly accused” of sexually assaulting parishioners, according to a study published in January 2020.
Priests from the dioceses of Metuchen, Newark, Trenton, Camden, and Paterson are included in the searchable database. The following is a list of credible abuses by diocese:
- Camden Diocese has 56 parishes.
- Metuchen Diocese: 14
- Newark Archdiocese: 63
- Paterson Diocese: 29
- Trenton Diocese: 31
The New Jersey Catholic church identified almost all of the priests on the database in 2019, according to Patch.
This comes after a 2018 grand jury investigation in neighboring Pennsylvania showed that more than 300 priests may have been engaged in sexual abuse, providing some insight into the scope of the issue throughout the nation.
The Pennsylvania grand jury report is widely regarded as the most “in-depth” investigation of sex abuse in the Catholic Church in the United States. During the 18-month inquiry, the grand jury looked at nearly 2 million papers from six of the state’s dioceses.
According to NJ.com, four of the priests named in the Pennsylvania grand jury investigation had worked in the Catholic Church in New Jersey, including the Diocese of Camden and parishes throughout the state.
The priests accused of sexual assault were said to have worked in New Jersey before going to Pennsylvania and then returning to New Jersey in certain instances.
How Much Has the Catholic Church in New Jersey Paid to Victims of Sexual Abuse?
According to reports, New Jersey Catholic Church authorities have paid tens of millions of dollars to alleged sexual assault victims over the past three decades. This alleged abuse was carried out by priests and clergy members, and the full scope of the abuse is just now becoming known.
Because many instances were resolved secretly, and many victims may not be able to share their tale of abuse or reveal how much they got as a settlement, the actual sum paid to sexual assault victims may never be known.
According to a spokesperson for the Archdiocese of Newark, the five dioceses of New Jersey have spent at least $50 million to resolve sexual abuse allegations in the past ten years.
Between 1990 and 2018, the Diocese of Camden received over $10 million in settlements, according to nj.com. Two men who claimed they were molested by Catholic priests in the 1950s and 1960s allegedly received seven-figure payments.
Unfortunately, the scope of the sex abuse issue in the Catholic Church in New Jersey and elsewhere is unknown, and may never be understood. Church authorities are accused of deliberately attempting to conceal the scope of the abuse, even going so far as to shield priests suspected of sexual misconduct.
According to NPR, Pope Francis issued a directive in 2019 requiring Vatican City authorities or “diplomats throughout the world” to report Catholic Church sexual abuse accusations, but reform may take time, and many individuals may still be victims of previous abuse.
What Was the Role of Catholic Clergy in Sexual Abuse of Children?
The names of priests and deacons are the only ones on the list provided by the New Jersey dioceses. The Catholic clergy, on the other hand, who are involved in child sexual abuse include:
What Rights Do Victims of Sexual Abuse in New Jersey Have?
The 2019 legislation, signed by Governor Phil Murphy, enables victims of sexual abuse as minors to bring sexual assault lawsuits against their alleged assailants until they reach the age of 55, or within a seven-year timeframe from the time the individual recognizes the damage the sexual abuse has caused in their lives.
However, victims who do not fit into either of those categories have two years from December 1, 2019, to sue abusers and any organizations that hired and sheltered them.
The deadline to submit is December 1, 2021, which is just a few months away.
By filling out the form on this website, victims of clerical abuse in the New Jersey Catholic Church may get assistance from experienced priest abuse attorneys.
What Is the Compensation Fund for the Catholic Church in New Jersey?
In early 2019, Catholic Church authorities in New Jersey agreed to create a compensation scheme to help alleged victims of sexual abuse by priests in the state’s dioceses.
The dioceses of the Catholic Church in New Jersey have decided to surrender all authority and allow the state to determine compensation for victims on its own.
The identities of priests accused of sexual abuse against minors in New Jersey were published on Feb. 13, 2019, by the Catholic dioceses in the state. As additional information becomes available, the diocese’s list will be updated.
The New Jersey Compensation Fund for Victims of Church Sexual Abuse of Minors provided compensation to certain people who were sexually assaulted by clergy on the list. Although the fund is now closed, claimants may still be able to seek compensation under the new law’s extended statute of limitations.
Which Dioceses Are Covered by the Victims Compensation Fund in New Jersey?
The state created this program to pay victims who were allegedly sexually assaulted by priests in the Archdiocese of Newark, the Diocese of Metuchen, the Diocese of Trenton, the Diocese of Camden, and the Diocese of Paterson.
How much may victims expect to be compensated?
According to nj.com, the fund’s payout is decided case by case, although a comparable New York compensation fund has given settlements as high as $500,000.
When is the Deadline for Clergy Victims in New Jersey to File a Claim with the Fund?
The New Jersey Independent Victim Compensation Program’s claim-filing deadline ended on Jan. 31, 2020, for victims of sex abuse committed by clergy members affiliated with the New Jersey archdiocese.
Claims will be reviewed by the Victim Compensation Program of the Archdiocese of New Jersey.
More than 500 individuals applied for financial settlements from the fund before the application process closed on Jan. 31, 2020, according to the New Jersey Independent Victim Compensation Program. According to the Catholic Star Herald, the fund’s original deadline of December 31, 2019, has been extended to enable additional victims to submit claims. All claim forms have to be submitted by February 15, 2020.
The Archdiocese of Newark and the other New Jersey dioceses established the New Jersey Independent Victim Compensation Program in 2019. The fund is intended to provide victims of Catholic clergy abuse as children a way to settle their claims without having to go to court and through a long and painful legal process. Instead, victims may apply to the fund in the hopes of receiving financial compensation payments.
How much has the Fund paid out thus far?
According to CBS Philly, the fund has paid out more than $11 million to almost 70 New Jersey victims whose claims had been accepted as of January 2020. At the time of writing, 458 applications were still being considered. The Archdiocese of Newark and the Dioceses of Camden, Metuchen, Paterson, and Trenton will each pay a portion of the cash settlement.
While the size of these settlement payments is unclear, a comparable Catholic victims fund in New York paid out up to $500,000 per victim. The maximum sum was set aside for the most serious instances of abuse, and most victims were anticipated to get less.
In most cases, the amount victims may anticipate to receive from a victims fund is much less than the amount they might collect in a lawsuit against the Catholic Church or individual dioceses. Victims who have accepted payments from the fund, on the other hand, are barred from taking further legal action against the church. These victims may also be forced to sign away their rights to speak out about their mistreatment.
Alternatives for Victims
Even though their cases have expired, victims who did not submit applications to the fund by the deadline of Jan. 31, 2020, may still be eligible to bring civil actions against their abusers and the institutions that enabled the abuse to occur.
Last year, the state of New Jersey amended its statutes of limitations for sexual assault claims. The addition of a two-year look-back window for victims whose claims are too old and have expired was one of these changes. Victims will be allowed to bring civil lawsuits against the Catholic Church, as well as other groups such as the Boy Scouts of America, sports organizations, and schools, under this look-back window, which opens in December 2019.
You or a loved one may be qualified to retain an attorney and file a class action lawsuit against the Catholic Church if you or a loved one has been sexually abused by a clergy member of the Archdiocese of Newark or other New Jersey dioceses. Victims may be eligible for compensation for their pain and suffering.
What sex abuse lawsuits have been filed against the Catholic Church in New Jersey?
Several lawsuits have been filed against the Catholic Church in New Jersey to far, with allegations of sex abuse at the center.
According to nj.com, a complaint was filed in August 2020 against former cardinal and Newark archbishop Theodore McCarrick, alleging sexual abuse and wrongdoing involving a young altar boy that occurred almost 40 years ago.
Over the last several years, McCarrick has been at the heart of a slew of sexual assault cases against the New Jersey Catholic Church, eventually being removed from the priesthood in 2019.
Are You Eligible for Assistance Under New Jersey’s Child Sexual Abuse Law?
New Jersey’s legislature just approved a measure, similar to New York’s, that would extend the statute of limitations on sex abuse charges in the Garden State.
The legislation, which took effect on Dec. 1, 2019, modifies the existing statute of limitations as follows:
- Victims of clerical abuse as children will be allowed to sue the Catholic churches in New Jersey until they reach the age of 55.
- Adults who discover their emotional and mental health issues were caused by childhood abuse have an extra seven years to bring a clergy abuse case.
- Victims of clerical abuse in New Jersey who attempted to sue but were barred by the two-year statute of limitations will be given an extra two years to launch a case against the church.
This legislation will provide victims of clerical abuse in New Jersey with an alternative to the compensation scheme. The deadline for submitting previously expired claims has been extended until December 1, 2021.
Do You Need a Clergy Abuse Lawyer in New Jersey?
If you or someone you care about has been sexually abused by a New Jersey clergy member, you may be eligible to file a lawsuit and seek compensation. Because filing a case may be intimidating, Top Class Actions has made it easier for you by matching you with an experienced attorney. A New Jersey clergy abuse attorney can assist you in determining if you have a claim, navigating the intricacies of litigation, maximizing your possible compensation, and holding those responsible for your suffering accountable.
Experienced lawyers can help survivors decide if compensation through a fund or a lawsuit is the best option, as well as assist with the paperwork procedure, in areas where compensation funds are still available.
Frequently Asked Questions
What percentage of Catholic priests have been accused?
The percentage of Catholic priests accused is unknown.
How much has the Catholic Church paid in sex abuse cases?
The Catholic Church has paid over $3 billion in settlements for sex abuse cases since 1950.
What is the average settlement for clergy abuse?
The average settlement for clergy abuse is $1,000,000.