Many parishioners in the Roman Catholic congregation are drawn to their religious leaders to receive strong values, spiritual guidance, and forgiveness. Sadly, many priests, bishops, cardinals, and other clergy members use their authority given by the Catholic Church to harm others through sodomy, rate, sexual assault, and molestation.
In New Jersey, over 250 predatory diocesan priests have been identified by Catholic dioceses and a grand jury report. The credible evidence alleges these religious leaders have sexually molested innocent children and vulnerable young adults.
Sadly, the list of Catholic clergy abusers has been increasing for decades. While some predators in the Roman Catholic Church are held legally accountable, many are never removed from ministry to parishioners, or they died long before they faced allegations.
Diocese of Paterson Clergy Abuse Attorneys
Every victim of sexual abuse deserves to tell their story to receive justice and hold those responsible financially and legally accountable. The compassionate attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC are here to listen to you in a confidential setting. Our team of legal experts can provide immediate advice and counseling on the best ways to resolve your cases successfully. We will use our years of experience to ensure you are financially compensated for your damages.
In recent years, we have handled every type of case for survivors of sexual abuse involving priests, religious leaders, use organizations, health care providers, Boy Scouts, support groups, schools, academies, and summer camps. Let us handle your case too.
In recent years, the New Jersey Legislature extended the restrictions on the statute of limitations. The newly enacted law extends the length of time allowed for any alleged victim harmed by sexual assault to file civil lawsuits.
As a result, many more individuals are now filing claims for compensation for holding priests throughout New Jersey, including those in the Diocese of Paterson, accountable.
Why Sexual Abuse Survivors File Civil Lawsuits
For decades, thousands of priests in the Roman Catholic Church have sexually assaulted innocent victims without criminal prosecution. Before a few years ago, it was the common practice of the Vatican, Pope Francis, Pope John Paul II, and Pope Benedict XVI to hide evidence from the public and congregation of the priest’s sexual misconduct.
While the sexual assaulter lived a life free of incarceration, probation, community service, the victim faced years of torment and embarrassment of what occurred. Their pathway to full recovery requires overcoming the overwhelming physical and emotional pain that often stifled their maturity. Most sexual abuse survivors are left broken, and without years of counseling, they have nowhere to turn for help.
In 2019, the New Jersey Legislature reformed the existing laws based on the statute of limitations that restricted the amount of time and abused victims could file a claim or lawsuit. Revisions to the statute provided an additional two years for filing suit against the predator priests and others, including the Diocese of Paterson.
Lawsuit documents typically list the priest, Bishop, Archbishop, and diocese as defendants in the case for covering up the evidence long enough for the statute of limitations to expire. Typically, the Roman Catholic Church would transfer the predator to a new parish, diocese, or area of the country. Rarely, with the Church, tell the congregation or the public what had happened.
However, with the change in the law, alleged victims of sexual assault can hold the assaulter financially and legally accountable through the litigation process. Our legal team worked on behalf of plaintiffs to protect their rights. We use the law to hold the religious organization, church leaders, predators, and others responsible for the sexual attack or its cover-up.
Newly Identified Clergy Abusers from Patterson Diocese
in February 2019, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Paterson released a list containing the names of 188 religious leaders, including deacons and priests, with credible accusations of sexually assaulting minors. The alleged assault occurred over several decades in numerous parishes and other religious venues in the diocese, including in Sussex County.
The list was compiled from law enforcement investigations and the diocese’s internal reviews. The investigations took place over other states, including the pivotal Pennsylvania grand jury report released to the public last year.
The new list added twenty-eight former deacons and priests. Sixteen of the clergymen on the list sexually assaulted multiple victims. Only twelve of the twenty-eight former priest with allegations of sexual misconduct are still alive.
Many of the older cases were hidden from the diocese’s congregation when church officials failed to take any action against priests with allegations of inappropriate sexual conduct. Most of these cases occur before 2002 when the Vatican finally started changing the way it responded to allegations of child abuse.
That year, many Bishops across the United States, including Bishop Serratelli, Bishop Rodimer, and Bishop Casey, followed the rules established by the Dallas Charter. The newly established guidelines were to be used by each diocese in the United States.
The new standards set by the Roman Catholic Church requires Bishops to conduct criminal background checks for all employees, including religious leaders. Church officials were to ensure every employee understood the code of conduct and received appropriate training that defined sexual abuse of minors.
Former religious leaders, including Archdiocese of Newark Archbishop Thomas Walsh, Auxiliary Bishop Thomas McLaughlin, and Bishop Kevin Sweeney, followed the old ways of handling sexual abuse cases. They often reassigned the priest to a new diocese or parish or sent the Reverend out for treatment for sexual abuse at the Congregation of the Servants of the Paracletes in New Mexico.
New Cases of Abuse Revealed
Many of the cases involving Catholic priests who were credibly accused of sexually assaulting innocent children and young people occurred in numerous locations, including:
- Blessed Kateri Parish (Sparta)
- Immaculate Conception Parish (Franklin)
- Our Lady of Fatima Church (Highland Lakes)
- Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish (Swartswood)
- Our Lady of the Lake Church (Sparta)
- Our Lady Queen of Peace Parish (Branchville)
- Our Lady Star of the Sea Parish (Lake Hopatcong)
- Pope John High School (Sparta)
- Saint Monica in Sussex Parish (Sussex)
- Thomas Parish (Ogdensburg)
Paterson is not the only diocese in New Jersey, adding new names to the list of credibly accused priests with allegations of sexually assaulting innocent victims. Last year, the Diocese of Trenton added thirty names to their list that identified priests and deacons with allegations of child sex abuse. The Diocese of Metuchen also added nine names to their list along with two other religious leaders with pending civil and investigations.
The state of New Jersey has added an attorney general hotline (855) 363-6548, taking calls from anyone reporting cases involving child sex abuse. Law enforcement authorities want any information about the sexual predator that engaged in illegally sexually assaulting a minor even if the abuser is no longer an active ministry or does not work any longer for the diocese.
Hiring a Roman Catholic Paterson Diocese Sexual Abuse Attorney
The experienced attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC have acquired over $250 million in monetary compensation on behalf of our clients. We have resolved cases through negotiated settlements and jury trial awards and can help your family too. If you, or a loved one, is the victim of child sex abuse by a priest or deacon, let our sexual abuse law firm help. We can help you with the first step of your healing pathway by discussing your case during a free consultation in a confidential setting.
Our legal team handles sexual abuse claims through a contingency fee arrangement. This agreement provides immediate legal services without needing to pay any upfront fees. We receive payments for our services only after we have secured financial compensation on your behalf. If we do not win your case, you do not pay.
Jonathan Rosenfeld is currently accepting clergy abuse cases where the predator priest remains an “active ministry,” on administrative leave, after his removal from the priesthood, during his retirement, or after his death. We also accept cases where the religious leader is associated with the Franciscan, Benedictine, or Jesuit Order.
For additional information on avoiding personal attacks, finding a safe environment for your children, and speaking to law enforcement authorities, look here.