Catholic Church Clergy Abuse: What Rights Do Victims Have in New Jersey?
A place of worship, such as a Catholic church, should be a safe environment for all worshippers. Sadly, recent revelations have showed that thousands of individuals have been abused by Catholic clergy members and employees. The abuse may go back several decades in some cases. New Jersey victims of such abuse have often been silenced by the Catholic Church, but now, they have a chance to recover compensation for the suffering they have endured and to make their stories known.
In November of 2018, the Archbishop of Newark, Cardinal Joseph Tobin, C.Ss.R., stated that the Archdiocese of Newark, as well as the Dioceses of Camden, Metuchen, Paterson, and Trenton would create a victim compensation program for those who suffered abuse from the Catholic Church. Victims who were sexually abused as children have found that many of their claims are barred by the state’s statute of limitations—however, under the new program, these victims are eligible for compensation. The dioceses in New Jersey also plan to publish the names of all of the accused clergy members in 2019, so long as credible evidence backs the claims.
Cardinal Tobin added that members of the New Jersey Catholic Conference plan to meet with Kenneth Feinberg and Camille Biros in December to come up with a plan for implementing the program. Feinberg was in charge of the September 11 Victim Compensation Fund and held a similar position for both the Diocese of Brooklyn and the Archdiocese of New York. Biros served as Feinberg’s associate in the latter. Feinberg and Biros are also creating victim compensation programs for the Diocese of Pittsburgh and the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.
Feinberg and Biros plan to create a program in which sexual abuse survivors may share their experiences with an independent auditor and eventually recover compensation for their injuries. The pair hopes to have the plan finalized by December 14, 2018.
At this time, the Catholic Church in New Jersey has already paid roughly $50 million to victims to settle claims of abuse. The Archdiocese of Newark added that permanent funding for necessary counseling will also be given to victims, stating, “…such counseling so often is needed to help in the healing of those who have been harmed.”
If a victim does not wish to sign up for the victim compensation program, other options are available. For example, legislation is being considered that would allow victims to sue the Church for abuse that happened in the past. Additionally, class actions lawsuits have been filed against the Catholic Church.
If you are a victim of sexual abuse, you do not have to suffer in silence. You have multiple options to obtain compensation and hold your abuser accountable for the terrible injuries you have endured.
Contact Leonard Legal Group today to discuss your options
At Leonard Legal Group, our attorneys are compassionate and highly experienced in sexual abuse claims, including those involving the Catholic Church. Our attorneys understand the challenges sexual abuse victims face in coming forward and are prepared to help you through every step of the process. To schedule a free consultation, call 973-984-1414 or contact us online.