Five Roman Catholic dioceses in New Jersey and one in Brooklyn have released documents spanning several decades which accuse nearly 300 Roman Catholic priests of sexually abusing minors. Of the 108 named in Brooklyn, 67 have been formally accused, while 41 others have died or resigned before these claims could be accredited. In New Jersey, 180 priests in the dioceses of Camden, Trenton, Metuchen, and Paterson have been named, with many also deceased or removed from the ministry.
Dioceses are disclosing these names in hope that the information will bring closure, healing, and validation to those who have been affected by the actions of the accused clergymen. While the lists do not include details about specific allegations or timeframes regarding these alleged crimes, they do include details regarding the priests, including their dates of ordination, current status, and ministerial assignments.
Despite the lack of direct information, many hope that the publishing of these names will deter other clergy members from committing similar crimes. Indeed, these documents join a nationwide list which now includes almost 2,000 accused clergy members. Others, however, note that some of these lists have been carefully curated to only include names of those no longer affiliated with the church.
In January, the New York State Senate passed the Child Victims Act, thereby extending the statute of limitations on when survivors of childhood sexual abuse may file a claim. Under this new legislation, abuse survivors now have until the age of 55 to take legal action. Furthermore, this updated legislation also removes the condition that a claimant must first file a notice of claim before officially taking action against a public institution.
If you or someone you know has experienced abuse of any kind, it may be important to consider your legal options. Recent changes in laws such as the Child Victims Act may affect your case and the statute of limitations you have to take action. The attorneys at Goldstein and Bashner could help you to understand your rights and work to chart the best path forward if you wish to file a claim.