New Jersey Sexual Abuse Lawsuits
Due to the passing of a retroactive window in December of 2019, New Jersey is noted for being one the most victim friendly states in the country with regards to sexual abuse and assault laws. Its efforts to change legislation has helped survivors of sexual abuse get justice against their abusers in the courts, and also allows for compensation. These laws enable lawyers handling sexual abuse claims in New Jersey to file cases against sexual predators, including clergy members, and the Catholic church. In addition, in June of 2019, the five Roman Catholic Dioceses of New Jersey together created the New Jersey Independent Victim Compensation Program to settle claims of sexual abuse brought against its clergy.
Below you will find information on New Jersey’s statute of limitations laws. These laws are important because they dictate how long a lawyer handling New Jersey sexual assault cases has to file a claim on behalf of a survivor. In addition, we’ve compiled a list of New Jersey’s settlements received by sexual abuse and assault survivors and a list of New Jersey ‘credibly’ accused priests released by the dioceses.
New Jersey Statute of Limitations for Sexual Abuse & Assault
New Jersey is one of 29 states working to pass statute of limitation (SOL) reform legislation in 2020. In fact, New Jersey is one of the few states in the country to open a 2-year revival window in 2019 which allows victims of sexual violence whose claims were previously time-barred to bring a claim against their abusers.
Criminal Statute of Limitation Laws for New Jersey
There is no criminal SOL for sexual assault felonies in New Jersey. For all other sexual abuse claims, the statute is age 23 or 2 years after the sexual abuse is discovered. Currently in 2020, New Jersey legislators are working to pass legislation that would extend the criminal SOL for felony sexual abuse crimes for victims to age 28 from age 23, or two years from discovery. The 2020 proposed legislation also includes a provision that would eliminate the criminal SOL for all sex trafficking crimes in the state. Child USA, who has evaluated every state based on their criminal statute of limitation laws, gave New Jersey a Criminal SOL score of 3, on a 1-5 scale, where 5 is the highest. A score of 3 is defined as a criminal SOL eliminated for felonies only.
Civil Statute of Limitation Laws for New Jersey
In 2019 New Jersey took great strides to update and better its sexual abuse and assault civil statute of limitations laws. Previously set at age 20, or 2 years after discovery, New Jersey’s new legislation moved the age to 55 or 7 years from discovery of the abuse, whichever is later. In addition, on December 1, 2019 a 2-year ‘window’ went into effect, allowing survivors of sexual abuse, whose claims were previously expired under the old laws, the opportunity to file a claim against their abusers.
Child USA, who has also evaluated every state based on their civil statute of limitation laws, gave New Jersey a Civil SOL Age Cap score of 4, on a 1-5 scale, where 5 is the highest. A score of 4 is defined as a civil SOL age cap for survivors age 50 and older. Additionally, Child USA gave New Jersey a related SOL Revival Law score of 4 on the same 1-5 scale. A score of 4 is defined as a revival window for 2 or more years or revival up to age 55, for claims against perpetrators, individuals, private organizations and government.
If you or someone you love was sexually abused or assaulted in New Jersey, contact us now. Due to New Jersey’s revival window, those sexually abused as a minor likely still have a claim against their abuser, no matter how long ago the abuse occurred. Even if the abuser is deceased, you may still have a claim against the organization responsible. Don’t wait to file your claim. New Jersey’s current revival window is set to close on November 30, 2021.
Go to our main sexual abuse page to learn more about the process of filing a sexual abuse claim.
New Jersey Sexual Abuse Settlements & Jury Awards
According to a spokesman for the Archdiocese of Newark, the five Catholic Dioceses in the state of New Jersey have paid out at least $50,000,000 to survivors of sexual abuse. Some of those settlements are detailed below.
1990 – 1994 – A total of $3,200,000 was paid to 19 sexual abuse survivors by the Camden Diocese over a four-year span. Part of that $1.8 million settlement is detailed below. The names of the accused priests were not all released.
October 1993 – The Catholic Diocese of Camden agreed to pay $1,800,000 to 15 sexual abuse survivors, with the stipulation that the victims never publicly talk about the case. In January of 1994, one of the survivors came forward, despite the secrecy agreement, to talk about his abuse. Those priests, now named publicly by survivors, include Rev. Joseph McGarvey, Rev. Joseph Shannon, Father John McElroy, and Father John Kelly.
January 2003 – The Roman Catholic Diocese of Metuchen agreed to a settlement of $800,000 to compensate 10 victims of sexual abuse by 5 priests from the Middlesex and Hunterdon counties. While none of the priests admitted wrongdoing as part of the settlement, the following priests were named by the victims: Monsignor Michael Cashman, Rev. John M. Banko, Michael Santillo, Rev. John Butler, and Rev. Mark Dolak.
March 2003 – After a 9-year legal fight, 23 sexual abuse survivors agreed to a $880,000 settlement with the Diocese of Camden. While the group was reported to have ‘mixed feelings’ about the settlement, efforts to try their claims in court were denied by a Superior Court judge due to statute of limitations issues. Monsignor Philip Rigney, and 13 other priests were accused of sexual abuse by the survivors.
October 2004 – The Archdiocese of Newark agreed to settle 10 claims of sexual abuse for a total of $1,000,000, however, the church maintains that the settlement is not a presumption of guilt on behalf of the priests named. Of the 9 accused priests at the time, 3 remained active priests since the archdiocese found no evidence of wrongdoing during its investigation. Five, including Rev. Joseph Rice, have been removed from ministry and the 10th, Rev. David Ernst, is deceased.
February 2005 – A settlement was reached between 27 sexual abuse survivors and the Paterson Diocese for an estimated $5,000,000. The monetary awards ranged from $100,000 to $200,000 per survivor and also include four years of paid therapy. Although the full list of accused priests and their personnel files were not released, most of the plaintiffs said they were abused by a former St. Joseph’s pastor, James Hanley.
*The settlements listed above are offered for educational purposes only and do not guarantee any future outcome or settlement. Each legal situation is different, and past performance does not guarantee future results. We do not maintain that is a full list of all settlements in the state of New Jersey but merely a grouping of those we choose to share on our website. Please contact us if you would like additional settlements included or if you notice any inaccuracies on our site. We strive to provide our viewers the most up to date and accurate information as possible.
New Jersey Catholic Dioceses Release Names of Clergy Credibly Accused of Sexual Abuse of Children
On February 13, 2019 the New Jersey Dioceses, which collectively includes the Archdiocese of Newark, the Diocese of Camden, the Diocese of Trenton, the Diocese of Paterson and the Diocese of Metuchen, released the names of 188 priests and deacons who they deemed to be ‘credibly accused’ of sexual abuse of a child. The decision to release the names came under immense pressure by the public, but also right as the New Jersey’s attorney general’s office created a task force to investigate whether or not the Catholic Church improperly handled allegations of priest molestation and sexual abuse of minors.
Diocese of Newark Credibly Accused Priest List
According to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Newark, the list below will be updated as litigation or investigations are concluded so that new names of credibly accused priests in New Jersey can be added.
|wdt_ID||Last Name||First Name||Year of Ordination/ Incardination||Clergy Status||Assignments||# of Victims|
|1||Alcamo||Robert||1980||Permanently removed from ministry/Laicized||St. Raphael, Livingston Assumption, Roselle Park||1|
|2||Batista||Jorge||1983||Deceased||St. Paul of the Cross, Jersey City Blessed Sacrament, East Orange St. Nicholas, Jersey City St. Augustine, Union City St. Anthony of Padua, Union City Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary/St. Michael, Elizabeth St. Aloysius, Newark St. Joseph of the Palisades, West New York||1|
|3||Benedetto||James T.||1970||Permanently removed from ministry||St. Antoninus, Newark St. Catherine of Siena, Cedar Grove St. Michael, Cranford Our Lady of Lourdes, Mountainside Assumption, Emerson||1|
|4||Bergeur||John X.||1945||Deceased||Our Lady of the Visitation, Paramus EMS, Newark Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary/St. Michael, Elizabeth St. Anthony, East Newark||1|
|5||Bonelli||Vincent||1956||Deceased||Chaplain, K of C in Caldwell Religion Faculty of East Orange Catholic HS Notre Dame, North Caldwell St. Francis Xavier Church, Newark||1|
|6||Bouton||John C.||1949||Deceased||St. Aloysius, Caldwell Our Lady of Peace, New Providence Holy Rosary, Edgewater Immaculate Conception, Secaucus||1|
|7||Campanlonga||Michael||1962||Permanently removed from ministry||Immaculate Conception, Newark Fairleigh Dickinson University, Rutherford Stevens Institute of Technology, Hoboken Holy Rosary Academy, Union City Assumption, Emerson St. Anthony, Northvale St. Philomena, Livingston||Multiple|
|8||Capparelli||John||1980||Permanently removed from ministry/Laicized||Our Lady of Fatima, North Bergen Oratory Prep, Summit Holy Trinity, Westfield St. Theresa, Kenilworth Temporary Chaplain - Valley Hospital, Ridgewood||Multiple|
|9||Carey||James A.||1936||Deceased||Christ the King, Jersey City US Army Seton Hall University, South Orange Chaplain, St. Elizabeth Hospital, Elizabeth Chaplain, St. Mary Hospital Immaculate Conception, Montclair Oratory Prep, Summit Holy Trinity, Westfield St. Michael Church, Jersey City||1|
|10||Chabak||Robert||1972||Permanently removed from ministry||Holy Family, Nutley St. Valentine, Bloomfield Ss. Peter and Paul, Hoboken St. Theresa, Kenilworth Christ the King, Hillside St. Mary of the Assumption, Elizabeth||Multiple|
Click to view our larger list of accused priests. Here you can search by accused clergy first and last name, Parish/Diocese, city and state, and even by the years of their assignments.
New Jersey Catholic Dioceses Establish Victims Compensation Fund for Child Sexual Abuse Survivors
In June of 2019, the five New Jersey Catholic Dioceses established a victims’ compensation program in the hopes of providing financial retribution to those who bring a credible sexual abuse claim. However, in order to qualify for payment, each survivor will need to waive his or her right to sue the church or its clergy in the future. The fund, called the New Jersey Independent Victim Compensation Program, is administered by a third-party, independent of the Catholic Church.
For more information about this fund, or for filing a sexual abuse claim against the Catholic Church in New Jersey, call our office at 1-800-941-7209. Your call is completely confidential.
New Jersey Sexual Abuse Lawsuits: News & Updates
A lawsuit filed by a former altar boy claims that the Allentown Diocese failed to protect him from decades of sexual abuse. Click the headline to read more…