Clergy Sex Abuse: When It Suddenly Seems Closer to Home
Resurrecting the past can be a painful experience. For those who have experienced clergy sex abuse, it often brings on a myriad of emotions. Some say minors who have been sexually abused by a trusted clergy member will never truly recover. That said, a recent news article brings what some consider an epidemic – closer to home.
It wasn’t long ago that Pennsylvania authorities released a bombshell report that documented decades of clergy sex abuse within the Catholic church. Following that, New Jersey formed its own task force with the goal of investigating the actual crimes and attempts to cover them up.
Separate and apart from the state’s inquiries come other documentation. A list compiled by the USA Northeast Province provides the names of Jesuits who have faced credible allegations of sexual abuse involving minors. Truth be told, some of the priests named were once tied to Jersey City, leading communities and teaching students at St. Peter’s Prep, St. Peter’s University and St. Peter’s parish.
In the meantime, there’s something notable about this particular list of names. Many of the priests died years ago. Additionally, a significant number of the allegations date back several decades. There is also a caveat to the list itself. Jesuits currently under investigation are not named in the document.
Clergy Sex Abuse: A List of Names
The USA Northeast Province list provides cursory insight into what the future may hold. There are no specific accusations. Instead, each allegation is broadly referred to as abuse of a minor. Also included is an indication that the priest admitted to the offense – or that the claims were found to be credible after an investigation.
Meanwhile, the New Jersey Catholic dioceses have promised a list of their own. Each of the state’s five dioceses plans to release the names of priests and deacons associated with credible allegations of child sex abuse.
For some, this may seem like a step forward. The reality is that the statute of limitations for pursuing criminal charges for clergy sex abuse may have passed for a number of victims. But, what about civil cases? Is it possible to file a lawsuit based on clergy sex abuse?
Civil Lawsuits for Clergy Sex Abuse
Once again, there is no doubt that clergy sex abuse leaves victims scarred for life. Under current laws, there are limitations concerning the filing of civil lawsuits. Fortunately, the legislature sees this as a problem. Many victims live in fear or shame and do not come forward immediately.
Under a new proposal currently in the Senate, the statute of limitations in civil actions for sexual abuse would be eliminated. The new law would also make changes to the Charitable Immunity Act, which many feel protects churches from liability.
At the Law Offices of Anthony Carbone, we recognize the delicate nature of clergy sex abuse claims. We can assist you in determining whether or not you can file a lawsuit. Contact us to schedule an appointment.