Category: Clergy Abuse

New Jersey Priest Arrested on Child Sex Abuse Charges

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New Brunswick clergy abuse lawyers help clergy abuse survivors obtain justice.The New Jersey Clergy Abuse Task Force (CATF) has brought its first case against a Catholic priest from Phillipsburg. The 63-year old priest was recently arrested and charged with several counts of child sexual assault dating back almost three decades, according to the state Attorney General’s office.

Establishment of the New Jersey CATF

The New Jersey CATF was established on September 6, 2018, following the Pennsylvania grand jury report, which was released the previous month. The purpose of the task force is to investigate allegations of clergy abuse within New Jersey Catholic dioceses, along with any attempts to cover up those allegations. The state Attorney General explains that the CATF’s mission is to expose the truth and obtain justice for clergy abuse survivors.

An experienced sex crimes prosecutor was appointed to head the task force, oversee a team of detectives and prosecutors, and report directly to the Division of Criminal Justice Director. The task force is authorized to present evidence to a state grand jury and review the dioceses’ compliance with an existing 2002 Memoranda of Understanding (MOU) amongst the state dioceses, the Attorney General’s Office, and various County Prosecutors’ Offices. The MOU outlines policies and procedures for reporting abuse and cooperation on sexual abuse cases.

The New Jersey CATF’s First Case

In addition to the criminal task force, the state Attorney General also created a toll-free, 24/7 clergy abuse hotline dedicated to receiving reports of alleged clergy abuse. This hotline led to the task force’s first case since its establishment last year. A Phillipsburg priest was arrested on charges of child sexual abuse when the survivor used the hotline to report the alleged clergy sexual abuse. According to the office of the Attorney General, the survivor was between 14 and 17 years old at the time of the alleged sexual assault, which happened between 1990 and 1994.

The abuse allegedly occurred at Saint Cecilia Church in Woodbridge, part of the Diocese of Metuchen. The bishop of the diocese says it has never received any reports of sexual abuse or misconduct by the accused priest. Although he claims that the priest served as a chaplain at St. Luke’s Warren Campus Hospital, the spokeswoman for St. Luke’s Hospital University Health Network says he was rather one of several religious leaders whose presence was requested by patients. She notes that no prior complaints about the priest were ever received and that the organization conducted the appropriate background checks.

However, the priest confessed to the allegations and the bishop of Metuchen assures that the priest will be removed from the priesthood. The diocese shared news of the arrest with other parishes in which the priest ministered.

New Brunswick Clergy Abuse Lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr Help Clergy Abuse Survivors Obtain Justice

If you were abused by a clergy member, contact a New Brunswick clergy abuse lawyer at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr. Our experienced attorneys are dedicated to holding the Catholic Church accountable and obtaining financial compensation for survivors. For a free consultation, please fill out our online contact form or call us at 732-249-4600.

From our offices in Highland Park, New Jersey, we represent clients throughout the surrounding areas, including those in New Brunswick, Somerset, Piscataway, Edison, South River, Sayreville, Metuchen, East Brunswick, South Plainfield, Fords, Middlesex, Old Bridge, Iselin, Bound Brook, Perth Amboy, and Colonia.

Catholic Church Releases List of Nearly 65 Priests Credibly Accused of Abuse

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Catholic Church Releases List of Nearly 65 Priests Credibly Accused of Abuse

Leaders from the Catholic church in New Jersey released a list of nearly 65 priests who have been credibly accused of the abuse of children on Wednesday. The accounts of clergy abuse date back to 1940 and list priests with ties to New Jersey, over 30 of whom are deceased. Archdiocesan records were used to create the list, which it is hoped will bring closure to survivors of the abuse.

The release of the names of priests who have been credibly accused of child abuse is a good start for the Catholic church. Unfortunately, a list of names and crimes committed by the individuals may not be enough to offer closure to survivors. Survivors will still remember the trauma they suffered and may only feel they will be able to move past the emotional distress if their abusers are held accountable for their actions.

If you or someone you love faced sexual abuse as a child by a clergy member, our New Jersey clergy abuse lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr will listen to your story without judgment. To schedule a free consultation, please call us at 732-249-4600 or toll-free at 877-249-4600 or contact us online. We proudly serve clients throughout New Jersey and the municipalities of New Brunswick, Somerset, Piscataway, Edison, South River, Sayreville, Metuchen, East Brunswick, South Plainfield, Fords, Middlesex, Old Bridge, Iselin, Bound Brook, Perth Amboy, and Colonia from our offices in Highland Park, New Jersey.

Catholic Church Creates NJ Abuse Survivors Compensation Fund

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Catholic Church Creates NJ Abuse Survivors Compensation FundOn Monday, the Catholic Church announced the creation of a compensation fund designated for New Jersey clergy abuse survivors. The New Jersey Compensation Fund for Victims of Church Sexual Abuse of Minors will review claims of clergy abuse and provide a settlement to the survivors when warranted. The group will operate independently without direct involvement from the five dioceses in New Jersey but will collect the funds from the applicable diocese to pay the victim. Kenneth Feinberg who previously ran the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund, and Camille Biros who assisted with the clergy abuse victims’ fund in the Archdiocese of New York will head the compensation fund.

An outline of the procedures for filing claims will appear on the website, and in the following month survivors will be able to file claims starting with individuals whose complaints were dismissed in the past, and then for survivors presenting new claims. Survivors will be offered a settlement, which they may accept or decline. If they accept it, they must sign an agreement that ensures they will not sue the diocese. While the effort to compensate survivors of clergy abuse shows a commitment by the Catholic church to own up to the abuse, it still fails to hold abusers accountable for their actions.

If you or a loved one endured sexual abuse by a clergy member, our New Jersey clergy abuse lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr will assist you. Please call us today at 732-249-4600 or toll-free at 877-249-4600 or contact us online to arrange a free case review. We proudly represent clients throughout New Jersey and the municipalities of New Brunswick, Somerset, Piscataway, Edison, South River, Sayreville, Metuchen, East Brunswick, South Plainfield, Fords, Middlesex, Old Bridge, Iselin, Bound Brook, Perth Amboy, and Colonia from our offices in Highland Park, New Jersey.

Cardinal Wuerl Apologizes

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New Brunswick clergy abuse lawyers fight for victims of clergy sex abuse.Cardinal Donald Wuerl has issued a letter of apology for not coming forward with information regarding his predecessor, Cardinal Theodore McCarrick. Wuerl had recently denied having any knowledge of sexual misconduct allegations against McCarrick, even though he alerted the Vatican of the 2004 allegations himself. Wuerl now says his denial was the result of a lapse in memory.

A former priest says Wuerl was informed of McCarrick’s inappropriate conduct in 2004 when he told him about his personal experience involving unwelcome sexual contact. Wuerl passed the information along to the Vatican, however he later said he had absolutely no recollection of the reported abuse. What the Vatican did with the report is unclear, however McCarrick continued serving as an archbishop of Washington for an additional two years.

Others have also come forward with allegations against McCarrick, including two minors and several adult males, most of whom were seminarians and priests under his authority. McCarrick, now the subject of a church investigation, has not commented on this alleged pattern of abuse but has denied accusations that he molested a teenage altar boy on two occasions in the 1970s. The Archdiocese of New York, however, found that accusation to be credible and substantiated; McCarrick was consequently suspended from his public priestly duties.

Trust in the Church Has Been Eroded

A recent Gallup survey reveals that Catholics’ faith in the church and clergy substantially declined in 2018. Just 31 percent reported having a high or very high opinion of clergy members’ honesty and ethical standards, as compared to 49 percent the year before. Of note is the Pennsylvania grand jury report released in August 2018 that publicized the widespread sexual abuse of children by over 300 priests.

According to the report, church officials engaged in a systematic cover-up of clergy abuse that took place for over seven decades. Predator priests were relocated to non-English speaking communities and could remain in active ministry despite multiple allegations of sexual abuse. More victims are coming forward as investigations continue.

The Vatican says it is investigating the allegations against McCarrick. It is uncertain whether the conclusions of the investigation will be made public before the world’s bishops’ conferences with the Pope in February to discuss the clergy abuse crisis. The Vatican says it plans to focus on the three main themes of responsibility, accountability, and transparency.

New Brunswick Clergy Abuse Lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr Fight for Victims of Clergy Sex Abuse

If you or a loved one suffered abuse by a clergy member, contact a New Brunswick clergy abuse lawyer at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr. Our compassionate attorneys fight to obtain justice and compensation that survivors deserve. You may be entitled to compensation for psychological counseling, loss of enjoyment of life, pain and suffering, and other damages. For a free and confidential consultation, please contact us online or call us at 732-249-4600.

From our office in Highland Park, New Jersey, we represent clients throughout the state, including those in New Brunswick, Somerset, Piscataway, Edison, South River, Sayreville, Metuchen, East Brunswick, South Plainfield, Fords, Middlesex, Old Bridge, Iselin, Bound Brook, Perth Amboy, and Colonia.

Former Priest from Rider University Accused of Sexual Abuse

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Former Priest from Rider University Accused of Sexual AbuseA former priest who served at both Rider University in Lawrence Township, New Jersey and Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey was accused of sexual abuse. Recently, the USA Northeast Province of Jesuits released a list that identified the deceased former priest, Andrew Dittrich, as one of 50 who are credibly accused sex offenders. Allegations against Dittrich arose in 2002, and then returned in 2018. The abuse apparently occurred between the years of 1966 and 1976, concurrent with some of the time he spent serving the Rutgers University Catholic community. He worked at Rider University between the years of 1977 and 1989, and Rutgers University from 1970 to 1977. Dittrich passed away in 1990 before the allegations officially came to light.

Allegations of clergy abuse continue to flood the news and bring out disturbing tales of priests and other clergy members who engaged in the abuse of children. For many years, the Catholic church dismissed allegations by survivors who bravely reported the abuse. Times have changed, however, notably with the surfacing of the Pennsylvania grand jury report and other lists such as the USA Northeast Province of Jesuits list that identifies abusive clergy members in detail.

If you or someone you love survived childhood clergy abuse, our New Jersey clergy abuse lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr will listen to your concerns and build a suitable claim against the perpetrators. Please call us today at 732-249-4600 or toll-free at 877-249-4600 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. We proudly represent clients throughout New Jersey and the municipalities of New Brunswick, Somerset, Piscataway, Edison, South River, Sayreville, Metuchen, East Brunswick, South Plainfield, Fords, Middlesex, Old Bridge, Iselin, Bound Brook, Perth Amboy, and Colonia from our offices in Highland Park, New Jersey.

The Lasting Effects of Clergy Abuse  

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New Brunswick clergy abuse lawyers advocate for abuse victims.As we have seen by the many adult clergy abuse victims that recently came forward to share their stories, the effects of sexual abuse are not left behind in childhood. Clergy abuse impacts victims long after the abuse ends. Clergy abuse victims are more likely to suffer from drug and alcohol abuse, depression, and other mental disorders. They often have difficulty forming healthy bonds with others and go through life with a deep sense of fear and distrust.

Abuse by priests, deacons, and youth leaders is incredibly devastating because children are taught to follow their moral example. Being violated by the men and women who represent their religion confuses their inherent sense of right and wrong. Where church was once a place of serenity and security, after abuse, it becomes a place associated with pain and sadness.

Speaking Out About Clergy Abuse

For clergy abuse victims, the first challenge in overcoming their pain is admitting the abuse. Feelings of guilt and shame are common among abuse survivors. They may believe they did something to deserve the abuse. When the abuser is in a position of power, such as with a priest or another member of the clergy, the victim feels powerless to speak out against them. Many abusers threaten to harm their young victims and their families should the children discuss their abuse with others. Even more victims fear they will not be believed if they come forward. These dynamics keep children quiet for decades and even lifetimes, in some cases.

Impact of Clergy Abuse

The effects of emotional, physical, and sexual abuse can surface at any point in a victim’s life, not just at the time of the abuse.

Symptoms of clergy abuse include:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Emotional shutdown
  • Insomnia
  • Low self-esteem
  • Memory repression
  • Nightmares
  • Panic attacks
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Substance abuse

Survivors who have deeply repressed their memories of abuse may not make connections between their physical and emotional problems and the pain they suffered as a child. When trust is broken and childhood abuse victims realize they can no longer count on adults to make them feel safe and protected, they often stop trusting others altogether. This makes creating healthy bonds with friends, family members, and romantic partners difficult.

Victims also turn to drugs, alcohol, and other addictive substances to numb the devastating pain of childhood abuse. Survivors are 26 times more likely to suffer from some type of substance addiction in adulthood.

Hope for Clergy Abuse Victims

There is hope for clergy abuse victims. For many adult survivors of clergy abuse, counseling and accountability for their abusers are two very important steps toward becoming whole again. The road to healing is a long one, but peace is possible after abuse. There are many resources available dedicated entirely to clergy abuse survivors. The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests is a good place to start.

New Brunswick Clergy Abuse Lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr Put Victims First

Holding abusers accountable for their criminal behavior is another important part of the healing process. New Brunswick clergy abuse lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr work with abuse victims throughout the state to bring justice and recover financial compensation for their trauma. To schedule a free consultation today, call us at 732-249-4600 or contact us online.

Located in Highland Park, New Jersey, we work with clients throughout the state, including the areas of Somerset, Piscataway, Edison, South River, Sayreville, Metuchen, East Brunswick, South Plainfield, Fords, Middlesex, Old Bridge, Iselin, Bound Brook, Perth Amboy, and Colonia.

Abuse by Nuns

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New Brunswick clergy abuse lawyers fight for those who suffered abuse by nuns.A recent grand jury investigation revealed widespread clergy abuse in Pennsylvania that had been covered up for decades. Now, more reports of sexual abuse have surfaced, however, this time, priests and bishops are not the ones being accused. Rather, women are coming forward with allegations of abuse by nuns in the Catholic church.

One woman reported being sexually abused by a nun in a New Jersey convent when she was 15 years old. At the time, she spent evenings, weekends, and summers with the nun whom she now realizes was grooming her for an illicit sexual relationship.

She says she confided in the nun about previous abuse she suffered at the hands of her uncle, a priest, at the age of five. The nun allegedly used her position of trust and authority to manipulate the girl by supplying her with drugs and alcohol before teaching her how to have sexual relations with women.

Another former nun recounts an instance of inappropriate kissing by her superior that has haunted her for decades. Through her work with the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), she learned of other alleged instances of sexual abuse and cover-ups. Since the Pennsylvania grand jury report was released, at least 18 people have come forward to share their experiences of abuse by nuns.

Alleged Abuser Remains a Nun Despite Settlement

The woman who claims to have been abused as a teenager reported the abuse to the Sisters of Charity in 1994 and received a $70,000 settlement, which was not enough, she says, to compensate for the consequences of the trauma, including her post-traumatic stress disorder and alcohol and drug addictions.

According to the woman, other nuns must have known about what was happening to her and did nothing to stop it. She also says she felt like the canon lawyers paid for her silence, but she intends to speak out in hopes of preventing similar instances from occurring to others.

Although the alleged abuser was removed from her position as a grade school principal and is being restricted from outside ministry, she remains a nun and is being provided with food and housing. The Sisters of Charity says it believes that the case was handled responsibly, but that it is willing to meet with the woman to address her remaining concerns.

Nun Abuse is Surprisingly Prevalent

The former nun who was abused by her superior says that most people have not heard of nun abuse because of nuns’ inherent culture of privacy. Nun abuse remains largely undiscussed, even though according to a 1996 survey, approximately 40 percent of Catholic nuns in the U.S. claimed to be victims of sexual abuse, often at the hands of their religious superiors. Survivors hope that public accountability will bring the issue to the forefront, helping to ensure that similar tragedies do not befall other innocent victims.

New Brunswick Clergy Abuse Lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr Fight for Those Who Suffered Abuse by Nuns

If you were abused by a nun or another clergy member, contact a New Brunswick clergy abuse lawyer at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr today. We fight to obtain the justice you deserve. For a free consultation, please fill out our online contact form or call us at 732-249-4600. Located in Highland Park, New Jersey, we represent clients throughout the state, including those in New Brunswick, Somerset, Piscataway, Edison, South River, Sayreville, Metuchen, East Brunswick, South Plainfield, Fords, Middlesex, Old Bridge, Iselin, Bound Brook, Perth Amboy, and Colonia.

New Jersey Clergy Task Force Arrests Priest Accused of Abusing Girl

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New Jersey Clergy Task Force Arrests Priest Accused of Abusing GirlThe New Jersey Clergy Task Force made their first arrest on Wednesday of a priest who is accused of sexually abusing a teenage girl. The 63-year-old priest from Phillipsburg, New Jersey was charged with multiple counts of sexual assault against the girl. He allegedly assaulted her between the years of 1990 and 1994 while serving as a priest at the St. Cecelia Church in Iselin, New Jersey. Currently, he works at the St. Philip and St. James Church in Phillipsburg. A hearing has been set for Friday.

In September 2018, the New Jersey Clergy Task Force formed to investigate clergy abuse throughout the state. The Pennsylvania grand jury report, which detailed sexual abuse accusations against over 300 Catholic priests, spurred State Attorney General Gurbir Grewal to create a team to conduct their own investigations. Apparently, some priests listed in the Pennsylvania report also served in New Jersey.

If you or a family member suffered from abuse by a clergy member, our New Jersey clergy abuse lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr will meet with you to discuss your case with discretion and compassion. To schedule a free and confidential consultation, please call us today at 732-249-4600 or toll-free at 877-249-4600 or contact us online. We proudly represent clients throughout New Jersey and the municipalities of New Brunswick, Somerset, Piscataway, Edison, South River, Sayreville, Metuchen, East Brunswick, South Plainfield, Fords, Middlesex, Old Bridge, Iselin, Bound Brook, Perth Amboy, and Colonia from our offices in Highland Park, New Jersey.

Jesuit Priests Named for Credible or Established Accusations of Child Sexual Abuse

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New Jersey clergy abuse lawyers discuss the released list of Jesuits accused of abuse.The Roman Catholic Jesuit province, which serves most of the eastern United States, has released a list of Jesuit priests who have been credibly accused or who face established claims of sexual abuse of minors. The claims date back to 1950. The Maryland Province of the Society of Jesus named five of the men who are living, and another eight who are deceased. Two of the claims involve priests with connections to New Jersey. The men named are or were part of a Catholic order that includes over 16,000 men worldwide. They served in churches, high schools, colleges, and elsewhere.

The claims are the most recent in a wave of similar disclosures that have been issued by Jesuit governing bodies. Two other Jesuit provinces recently released the names of over 150 priests and ministry leaders facing credible allegations of sexual abuse. Those provinces cover nearly half the United States.

Most of the cases connected to the Maryland province date back decades, with the most recent incident occurring in 2002. The province disclosed that the five accused who are living are in supervised housing on a safety plan. Their goal in disclosing the names, they have said, is to promote reconciliation and healing.

Some of the accused Jesuit priests were removed from ministry in the 1990s. However, others were not removed until a long time after the Catholic church sex abuse scandal exploded in 2002. Many priests were not removed from ministry until decades after they were accused.

Transparency is Needed

Although victims and advocates are relieved that lists of predatory priests are finally being revealed, they see the disclosures that have been offered by the church as wholly inadequate. They do not trust that the lists are complete, or that all the horrors have yet been revealed. They want the whole truth so that they can move forward with hope and healing, and so that the reprehensible behavior can be prevented in the future.

New Jersey Clergy Abuse Lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr Fight for Victims of Clergy Abuse

We understand how incredibly difficult it can be to stand up to the Catholic church after suffering sexual abuse or assault. The New Jersey clergy abuse lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr can help you hold your attacker accountable, even if the abuse happened long ago. We have handled many clergy abuse cases successfully, and we hail your desire to make your voice heard. We offer compassionate and responsive service and tireless representation for your case. To schedule a free consultation, please call us at 732-249-4600 or contact us online.

Located in Highland Park, New Jersey, we proudly serve clients from the surrounding areas, including New Brunswick, Somerset, Piscataway, Edison, South River, Sayreville, Metuchen, East Brunswick, South Plainfield, Fords, Middlesex, Old Bridge, Iselin, Bound Brook, Perth Amboy, and Colonia.

Ten Former New Jersey Priests Accused of Sex Abuse Appear on New List

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New Jersey Clergy Abuse Lawyers report on ten former New Jersey priests accused of sex abuse appear on new listTen former New Jersey priests accused of sex abuse appeared on a new list released on Tuesday by the USA Northeast Province Jesuits (UNPJ). The list dates to 1950 and identifies priests credibly accused of abuse. The ten priests who appeared on the list served in New Jersey during their tenures, and several were based in Jersey City, New Jersey. Many of the clergy members have since left the Catholic church or passed away. One of the priests who was on the Rutgers University campus in New Brunswick, New Jersey from 1970 to 1977 was accused of child abuse extending from 1966 to 1976. The accusations, which were reported in both 2002 and 2018, were deemed credible. He passed away in 1990, before justice could be served.

In line with Pennsylvania and a handful of other states, the New Jersey State Attorney General’s office began subpoenaing dioceses within the state for their investigation on clergy abuse. For years, clergy members allegedly engaged in the abuse of children without any type of repercussions. Victims and survivors of the abuse felt that they could not vocalize about it lest the reports be summarily dismissed, or because of the shame and emotional distress that often accompany these cases.

There is a mediation program for New Jersey clergy abuse claims. The victim of the abuse is not required to testify in court on in a deposition.

If you or someone you love experienced the trauma of clergy abuse, our New Jersey clergy abuse lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr will offer the support they need to move forward. Please call us today at 732-249-4600 or toll-free at 877-249-4600 or contact us online to arrange a free and confidential consultation. Located in Highland Park, New Jersey, we proudly serve clients from the surrounding areas, including New Brunswick, Somerset, Piscataway, Edison, South River, Sayreville, Metuchen, East Brunswick, South Plainfield, Fords, Middlesex, Old Bridge, Iselin, Bound Brook, Perth Amboy, and Colonia and throughout the state.