For over the last twenty years, the United States Justice Department, law enforcement, and the public have scrutinized the actions of the Roman Catholic Church in handling predatory priests. By 2020, churches in the State of New Jersey listed over 250 priests, bishops, brothers, and nuns facing credible allegations of sexually assaulting innocent victims.
Some of these priests sexually assaulted multiple victims. All these cases involved incidents that occurred from the 1960s until the present day. These cases involved NJ Catholic dioceses, including the Archdiocese of Newark (Bishop David m. O’Connell), the Catholic Diocese of Trenton, Diocese of Camden, Diocese of Metuchen, and Paterson Diocese.
The Vatican made the first initial wave of changes in 2002 when the “Dallas Conference” changed in the way Church officials must handle sexual abuse of minors allegation involving a priest, deacon, or other religious leaders.
In 2019, Pope Francis announced there would be significant changes in how the Church would deal with abusive priests with credible allegations of sexually abusing minors. The new announcement abolishes the pontifical secrecy that had gone on for decades were Church leaders covered up evidence that would have held Catholic clergy abusers accountable.
Trenton Diocese Sexual Assault Attorneys
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC has long served as community advocates for victims of clergy abuse in the religious community in Trenton and Mercer County. With our years of experience, we use New Jersey law to ensure the rights of our clients are protected. Our attorneys understand many of the challenges facing the power of the Catholic Church, all alone.
If you, or your loved one, were sexually abused by a Catholic clergy member in the Diocese of Trenton, we can handle every aspect of your case. Let our team of attorneys take legal action on your behalf to ensure a successful outcome. Our compassionate lawyers will listen to your horrific story in a safe environment to provide numerous options on how to proceed.
The New Jersey Catholic Conference Response Allegations of Alleged Abuse
Recently, the New Jersey Catholic Conference responded to allegations of sexual abuse occurring in every diocese, including the Archdiocese of Newark, Diocese of Paterson, Camden Diocese, Metuchen Diocese, and Diocese of Trenton. The Conference now ensures that every diocese follows a comprehensive Catholic education program that trains religious leaders, volunteers, and employees on how to create a safe environment for children.
Following the rules of the Vatican, Church leaders must now conduct background checks on all personnel working for parishes in the diocese who regularly encounter underage children. The zero-tolerance regulations violated by an offending religious leader requires permanent removal from active ministry. The Church can no longer transfer the predator priest to another diocese or parish but must turn the case over to proper authorities.
New Names Added to the Diocese of Trenton Lists
In February 2019, every diocese and the Archdiocese in New Jersey added new names to the list of parish priests, employees, and other religious leaders with credible accusations of sexual misconduct. The original list only identified the predator priest by name, the date they were ordained, their date of birth, and whether the Church had removed them from ministry, or the Reverend had died.
A newly updated list released in February included where the priest was assigned, the dates of his assignment, and how many victims the Reverend is known to have sexually assaulted. In Trenton, the Bishop added thirty names to the list. The previous list already included over 200 members of the clergy currently working in New Jersey or who had ties to the State that were facing allegations of inappropriate sexual behavior with children.
The new names included diocesan priests on parish assignments with criminal charges or sanctioned by the Vatican. Some advocates for survivors of clergy abuse harmed by a Catholic clergy member suggest that the list is incomplete. Newly added names that involved accusations of sexual abuse of a minor included:
- Reverend Romanilo Apura
- Father Ronald Becker
- Reverend Richard Brietske
- Father Gerard Brown
- Reverend Charles Comito
- Reverend Benjamin Dino
- Father Manuel Fernandez
- Reverend Thomas Frain
- Father J. Gerald Griffin
- Reverend Douglas Hermansen
- Father Frank Iazzetta
- Reverend Vincent Inghilterra
- Father Francis Janos
- Reverend Leo Kelty
- Reverend Patrick McGee
- Father Terrance McAlinden
- Reverend M. Francis McGrath
- Father Joseph McHugh
- Father William McKeone
- Father Richard Milewski
- Reverend Liam Minogue
- Father Sebastian Muccilli
- Reverend Robert Parenti
- Father Thomas Rittenhouse, and others
The Long-Lasting Devastation of Child Sexual Assault
Catholic clergy sexual abuse can cause long-lasting emotional and physical harm to innocent children and vulnerable young adults. In the days, months, and years after the abuse occurred, the sexual abuse survivor can suffer severe medical conditions, including unwanted pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections, physical injury, and emotional distress.
Clergy molestation survivors can develop life-changing trauma that expresses itself as deep depression, high anxiety, ongoing eating orders, post-traumatic stress disorder, self-harming behaviors, and suicidal ideation (thinking about suicide). Some victims of sexual abuse participate in criminal behavior, misuse drugs and alcohol, display inappropriate sexual behavior, and face unexpected challenges in developing long-lasting healthy relationships.
While some children experienced sexual abuse in a single incident, others are repeatedly sexually assaulted by their original predator or others. Often, the sexual abuser will pass the victim around to other molesters to enhance the predator’s sexual gratification.
Even today, many parents of a clergy abuse victim will fail to take the necessary action to ensure that their child remains protected. Very religious parents will tell the young child never to speak ill of a clergy member or tell others what happened out loud.
Sometimes, parents, friends, family members, and witnesses will recognize their moral obligation to report the incident to local law enforcement and child social services. Their efforts can protect the innocent victim from any potential further abuse.
Every sexual abuse survivor can report what happened to the New Jersey Child Protective Services through the State Central Registry at (877) 652-2873. For a quick response from law enforcement, if you are in immediate danger, call 911.
Diocese of Trenton Clergy Sexual Abuse Attorneys Can Help
If you, or a loved one, are the victim of sexual assault and harmed by a Diocese of Trenton religious leader, Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC can help. We handle cases involving parishes in Burlington County, Mercer County, Monmouth County, and Ocean County. Contact us today at (888) 424-5757. Schedule a no-obligation, free consultation to discuss the merits of your lawsuit case in a confidential setting.
Recent changes to the New Jersey statute of limitations provide previously unavailable opportunities for plaintiffs to file civil lawsuits against alleged perpetrators and the Roman Catholic Church. You can now file a case no matter when the abuse occurred, even if the assault happened decades ago.
Our law firm handles cases involving predator priests whose status might be “in active ministry,” on administrative leave, laicized (removed from the priesthood), currently in retirement, or dead. We will build a case that holds the Church accountable if their actions revealed it previously covered up the evidence you needed to resolve your case successfully.