New Jersey Attorneys Investigating Sexual Assault Claims Against the Roman Catholic Church Archdioceses
It often takes decades for sexual abuse victims to come forward and identify their assaulter in hopes they will be held accountable.
If you are a sexual assault survivor harmed by priests or other clergy members and want justice, the compassionate New Jersey sexual abuse attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC, can help. Contact us today for a free confidential consultation.
Our caring team of legal representatives will fight on your behalf to protect your rights and provide a safe place to talk about what happened.
Our clergy sexual abuse injury attorneys are here to listen to your story. Your abuse lawyer will work to make sure that your story of childhood sex abuse gets its day in court if your case does not settle before then.
Believing that a Roman Catholic priest or another clergy member sexually assaulted an innocent parishioner was once considered unfathomable.
However, in the last few decades, many sexual predatory priests and bishops have been exposed by their victims who were sexually assaulted by the religious leader.
These cases revealed that Church officials knew of the priest’s abusive behavior and yet failed to take the necessary action to ensure they were held criminally accountable in victims were protected.
As a result, the molester was allowed to continue victimizing children and young adults for years.
Clergy Sexual Assault
In August 2019, thirty individuals stepped forward to say New Jersey religious leaders had sexually assaulted them when they were underage children.
The allegations included new names on the list of over a dozen accused priests who were now credibly accused of sexual molestation.
The church in New Jersey, like in other states including Pennsylvania and New York, engaged in a decades-long pattern of cover-up and hiding evidence of child sexual abuse. However, sexually abused victims have new legal options.
Recently, state legislators changed clergy abuse law to provide more time for sexual assault survivors to file lawsuits for compensation against their abusers and enablers, including the Roman Catholic Church of New Jersey.
Victims of New Jersey clergy abuse can seek compensation beyond the restrictions of the state’s statute of limitations.
The Devastating Effects of Sexual Assault
Sexual assault of an innocent person often creates lifelong devastation altering the victim’s well-being. Molested adults and children often develop debilitating sleeping disorders, ongoing depression, substance abuse, and self-injury.
Young children and teenage sexual assault victims may develop negative eating habits, begin living an over-sexualized lifestyle, or engage in any form of risky behavior.
The trauma of sexual abuse by clergy members may result in suicide or suicidal ideation (thinking about committing suicide).
Holding the Abuser Accountable
In January 2020, the Roman Catholic Church in New Jersey received over 500 applications for compensation involving childhood sexual abuse harmed by priests and other clergy members. New Jersey’s sex abuse victims who do not want to file a civil lawsuit have the option of applying to the compensation fund managed by the Catholic Church.
So far, the independent victim compensation program has funded over $11 million in out of court settlements to sixty-nine victims in New Jersey who filed sexual abuse claims.
The remaining applications will remain under review until officials determine the validity of each case.
Our sexual abuse lawyers handle clergy abuse cases for our clients and can help your family too. Our trial lawyers have years of experience building compensation cases and fight aggressively with the Church’s legal team wanting to minimize the value of the victims’ sexual injury claims.
New Jersey Roman Catholic Church Diocese
New Jersey’s Catholic community is the single largest religious group of all faiths statewide where forty percent of the state’s population identifies as Catholic. The Archdiocese of Newark, four dioceses, and their Bishops manage more than 645 parishes and 208 Catholic schools throughout the state.
The Church provides services to hundreds of thousands of registered Catholics living in twenty-one counties.
New Jersey Dioceses
Roman Catholic Diocese of Paterson
777 Valley Rd
Clifton, NJ 07013
Bishop: Arthur J. Serratelli
Cathedral: St John the Baptist Roman Catholic Cathedral
Roman Catholic Diocese of Camden
631 Market St
Camden, NJ 08102
Bishop: Dennis Joseph Sullivan
Cathedral: Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception
Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Newark
171 Clifton Ave
Newark, NJ 07104
Roman Catholic Diocese of Trenton
701 Lawrenceville Rd
Lawrence Township, NJ 08648
Roman Catholic Diocese of Metuchen
146 Metlars Ln.
Piscataway, NJ 08854
Bishop of Metuchen: James F. Checchio
Cathedral: St. Francis of Assisi Cathedral
The Statute of Limitations in New Jersey for Child Sexual Abuse Cases
Each legal cause of action is governed by a time constraint for filing a lawsuit or settling a claim, referred to as the statute of limitations. Your failure to file a cause within the prescribed time constraints will forever bar your recovery.
A new law in New Jersey has given some relief to abuse survivors of organizations such as the Catholic Church and the Boy Scouts of America.
Many victims of sexual abuse were unable to file a lawsuit because the statute of limitations had passed. Now, the law restricting the limit of two years to file abuse cases has given help to some plaintiffs victimized by sex abuse in New Jersey.
Now, beginning on December 1, 2019, there is a two-year window for those New Jersey victims of clergy assault to file sexual abuse claims that were previously barred by the statute of limitations. The Child Victims Act has resulted in a large number of new sexual abuse lawsuits.
Statute of limitations can be very fact dependent. Consequently, we urge you to speak with an experienced New Jersey clergy abuse attorney as soon a feasible to ensure your legal rights are not compromised.
Catholic Officials Choose Bankruptcy Protection Over Paying Victims
In October 2020, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that the Camden Diocese filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The move left over a hundred Pennsylvania and New Jersey clergy abuse cases unpaid.
Many plaintiffs who had come forward were expecting financial compensation after coming forward, recounting their childhood trauma of sexual abuse years and decades ago. For now, victims of sexual abuse in New Jersey and southeast Pennsylvania will join other creditors to get a fair share of church funds paid out by the bankruptcy judge.
Some sexual abuse lawyers representing victims believe the church has victimized sexual abuse survivors a second time by choosing to dodge its moral obligations to protect molested parishioners. However, church officials claim that the legal maneuver to seek court protection ensures the Diocese’s survival.
Sexual Abuse Frequently Asked Questions
Below are some frequently asked questions raised by victims of sexual abuse. We appreciate that you may have additional questions or concerns after reviewing these. Consequently, we invite you to contact our law firm for a free consultation with an experienced sexual abuse attorney.
Will I Need to Face My Abuser if I Bring a Sexual Abuse Claim?
Many victims of clergy abuse are hesitant to come forward and file a claim out of fear of facing their abuser. While these fears are very legitimate, the reality is that the liklihood of you facing your abuser during the litigation process is unlikely.
Most of our clergy abuse cases settle prior to trial and in many cases we are successful getting matters settled out of court. However, you can be assured that you will never be alone. Your lawyer will stand beside you during all phases of your case.
What if I Don’t Have Any Evidence? Will This Prevent Me From Filing a Claim?
You should not let a lack of evidence prevent you from pursuing a child sexual abuse claim. Very few victims of childhood sexual abuse have physical evidence of their abuse.
Our lawyers are experienced in handling abuse cases based on circumstantial evidence where we may only have a name or location.
Furthermore, we appreciate that many victims repress the incident. We will work with the facts that you provide us to establish liability and damages.
The Priests Who Abused Me as a Child Are Now Dead. Can I Still File a Lawsuit?
Yes, you can still pursue a lawsuit against the church even if the priests or clergy who abused you are dead or are serving time in jail.
Under a legal theory of respondeat superior, the church is responsible for the acts of their staff. Consequently, a claim for abuse will survive even after a perpetrator is dead.
Is it Really Worth Bringing a Claim for Clergy Abuse That Occurred When I Was a Child?
Only you can make a decision about bringing an abuse claim for an incident that occurred when you were a child.
However, if the incident has impacted your life (and it likely has) you are entitled to file a civil lawsuit against the church to recover for your economic and non-economic damages. The damages in many clergy abuse cases are substantial with some claimant awarded millions in compensation.
A second, but no less important factor to consider is that many times filing a claim brings a sense of closure to a horrific chapter in your life. Many people feel a sense of vindication after bringing a sexual abuse case.
What is the Impact of a Criminal Proceeding in a Civil Sexual Abuse Case?
Generally, the findings from a criminal case are not admissible in a civil sexual abuse lawsuit. There is a different standard of evidence used in criminal and civil courts so the determination of guilt or innocence is not admissible in a civil case.
However, if the defendant in a criminal case pleads guilty to a charge, the plea would likely be admissible in a civil case.
What Type of Compensation Can I Recover in a Clergy Sexual Abuse Lawsuit?
Like other types of personal injury cases, the victim of clergy sexual abuse can recover compensation for economic and non-economic damages such as:
- Pain and suffering
- Medical bill
- Lost wages
- Counseling and therapy
- Mental anguish
In some cases of extreme conduct, punitive damages may be awarded.
Clergy Sexual Abuse in New Jersey Lawyers are Ready to Help
Our network of attorneys understands the challenges sexually abused victims experience speaking about the vile actions clergy members did to them in their childhood years. We know the power of New Jersey’s Catholic Church and how they tend to fight back, saying nothing happened.
However, with the New Jersey sexual abuse lawyers at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC, on your side, you will never face them alone. Our compassionate legal trial lawyers treat childhood sexual abuse in New Jersey abuse cases with the utmost seriousness that they deserve.
Let our New Jersey law firm begin working on your case today. Speak out now and file a compensation lawsuit.
We believe that all survivors of sexual abuse by clergy members who come forward have a right to be heard.
We will work for you and your loved ones as you seek financial compensation against the clergy member, priests, and Catholic officials who allowed the predator to harm victims.
Contact us today to discuss your legal options and a case evaluation at (888) 424-5757 to schedule a free confidential consultation.
All information you share during an initial, free consultation concerning your case will remain confidential in the course of our attorney-client relationship.
All victims of sexual abuse by clergy should file a compensation claim before the statute of limitations expires.