New Jersey Catholic Church Sexual Abuse Lawsuits
Fighting for Survivors Sexually Abused by Priests & Clergy
If you or someone you love were sexually abused by a member of a Catholic church in New Jersey, you may have grounds to pursue financial compensation for your damages.
In recent years, various record releases and court filings have produced evidence of a rampant sexual abuse problem within all five of New Jersey’s Catholic dioceses. In addition to numerous cases of clergy abuse against children, the evidence also shows that church leadership engaged in a decades-long coverup that enabled predator priests to abuse children without consequence.
Now, survivors are stepping forward in increasing numbers to seek justice and hold the Church accountable. Our award-winning attorneys at Levy Konigsberg are here to help.
Levy Konigsberg has earned national recognition representing survivors nationwide in civil sexual abuse lawsuits– including claims against powerful institutions and religious organizations. If you have questions about a potential case, call (800) 315-3806 or contact us online for a FREE and confidential consultation with a New Jersey Catholic church sex abuse attorney.
Legacy of Clergy Abuse in New Jersey Catholic Dioceses
The dark legacy of clergy abuse within New Jersey Catholic churches has been made apparent through various high-profile legal filings and internal record releases.
These cases and publications confirm that child sexual abuse has been rampant within all five of the state’s Catholic dioceses for decades and that church officials routinely failed to protect victims by prioritizing its own reputation. They also show that New Jersey Catholic dioceses are still making efforts to conceal and cover up hundreds of cases of abuse statewide.
- In January 2023, it was revealed that despite hundreds of lawsuits filed by survivors and promises to promote transparency as new allegations arose, New Jersey’s Catholic Dioceses had failed to make any meaningful updates to its list of credibly accused priests since it was published in 2019. This included no new names within the Newark Archdiocese, and just seven additional priests added to lists from the state’s other four dioceses. The Church’s failure to update its lists happened despite the dioceses reaching hundreds of settlements with survivors, and calls into question the Church’s purported commitment to transparency.
- In April 2022, the Diocese of Camden agreed to pay $87.5 million to settle claims of clergy sex abuse brought by roughly 300 survivors. The settlement, one of the largest involving the Catholic church in the U.S., was reached as part of the Camden Diocese’s bankruptcy case and includes allegations of abuse from the 1950s through the 1990s, with most claims involving abuse in the 60s and 70s.
- In 2019, New Jersey’s five Catholic dioceses published a list of 188 priests and deacons who had been credibly accused of child sex abuse. The list, which was the product of an internal review spurred by an investigation launched by the New Jersey Attorney General in 2018, included clergy accused of child sex abuse dating back to the 1940s.
The list of 188 credibly accused priests and clergy, which has been widely scrutinized for not being updated since its release and for likely undercounting the true number of accused abusers, included clergy from all five of New Jersey’s Catholic dioceses. The breakdown of accused clerics in each diocese was as follows:
- Archdiocese of Newark – 63
- Diocese of Camden – 57
- Diocese of Trenton - 30
- Diocese of Paterson – 28
Diocese of Metuchen – 11
Do I Have a Case?
Since the publication of credibly accused New Jersey priests, hundreds of survivors across the state have stepped forward to file claims against the Catholic Church.
As civil lawsuits, these claims focus on holding New Jersey’s Catholic dioceses accountable for covering up abuse and failing to protect children. You may have a claim if:
- You were sexually abused as a child or an adult by a priest, Church volunteer, or other member of the Catholic Church.
- The abuse took involved a clergy member from any of New Jersey’s five Roman Catholic Dioceses (Diocese of Camden, Diocese of Trenton, Diocese of Paterson, Diocese of Metuchen, or the Archdiocese of Newark).
Can I File a Lawsuit if My Abuser is Deceased?
Many of the priests and clergy members identified in the New Jersey Dioceses’ public list are deceased.
While this means that these individuals may never face criminal accountability for their crimes, it does not mean the Dioceses in which they served are free from liability.
As civil lawsuits, claims filed against the Catholic Church focus on holding church leadership accountable for failing to prevent, stop, and appropriately respond to sexual abuse committed by its priests and clergy. They are also independent of any criminal cases that may or may not have been brought against individual abusers.
This means you may still have a viable lawsuit even if:
- Your abuser is no longer alive.
- Your abuser was never charged or convicted of a crime.
At Levy Konigsberg, we support survivors in civil actions that aim to hold dioceses accountable for their failures to stop and prevent abuse. Our attorneys are available to discuss whether you have a viable claim during a FREE and confidential consultation.
What is the Statute of Limitations for Catholic Church Sexual Abuse Lawsuits in New Jersey?
In 2019, New Jersey lawmakers passed groundbreaking legislation to expand the statute of limitations in civil sexual abuse cases and provide survivors with more time to file claims.
The legislation, which came in response to sweeping allegations against the Catholic Church and a growing understanding about the delayed discovery survivors face when processing abuse that occurred when they were children, provides a significant amount of time for survivors to step forward.
Under New Jersey law, survivors of child sexual abuse can file claims:
- Until the age of 55; or
- Within seven years of first realizing that abuse caused them harm.
As many cases of clergy abuse in New Jersey Catholic Churches occurred decades ago, the recent legislative change opened the door for hundreds of survivors to file lawsuits that were previously barred by the statute of limitations.
At Levy Konigsberg, our sexual abuse team has helped fight for survivors in numerous states where similar legislation has been and is being passed. If you have a potential sexual abuse lawsuit against the Catholic Church in New Jersey, we have the experience and resources to help.
Call For a FREE Consultation: (800) 315-3806
Levy Konigsberg has recovered more than $3 billion in compensation for clients, including millions in compensation for survivors of sexual abuse. We’re passionate about helping survivors seek justice and provide the firepower they need to fight back against powerful institutions like the Catholic Church.
If you have questions about pursuing a sexual abuse lawsuit against a New Jersey Catholic diocese over abuse that occurred when you were a minor or an adult, we’re available to help. Call (800) 315-3806 or contact us online for a FREE consultation
Find out whether you have a case by speaking to one of our experienced lawyers via our 24/7 toll-free hotline or by submitting an email inquiry. Our attorneys will be quick to respond to you and happy to answer all of your questions.
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