New Jersey Catholic Diocese Agrees 87.5 Million Settlement With Sexual Abuse Survivors
The New Jersey Catholic Diocese of Camden has agreed to settle sexual abuse claims with approximately 300 victims for $87.5 million.
The settlement, which must receive approval from the US Bankruptcy Court, will establish a trust for survivors of sexual abuse that occurred over decades. The trust will receive funds from the Camden Diocese and other Catholic entities over four years. The settlement also includes provisions addressing protocols to protect children from sexual abuse in the future.
The Associated Press reported that victims who endured sexual abuse by clergy of the Camden Diocese and filed claims could receive close to $300,000.
Settlement Comes After NJ Extended Statute Of Limitations For Sexual Abuse Claims
Like NY and many other states, NJ passed legislation extending the statute of limitations to file sexual abuse claims. These changes to the time limits directly resulted from realizing that sexual abuse in the Catholic church spanned decades and affected thousands of children.
The changes also reflect the understanding that because of the trauma sexual abuse causes, many victims cannot come forward with their claims until long after the time limit has passed.
Under the old laws, too many victims of sexual abuse as children missed the window to seek compensation from their abusers.
Previous NJ law gave victims until they turned 20 or two years after realizing the abuse caused harm to sue their abuser. NJ passed legislation in 2000 giving victims of child sex abuse until age 55 or within seven years of realizing that the sexual abuse caused them harm.
The new law resulted in a flood of lawsuits by victims of clergy sexual abuse, which led the Diocese to file for bankruptcy protection. Because the Diocese is in bankruptcy, the Bankruptcy Court must approve the sexual abuse settlement.
Sexual Abuse Allegations In Camden Diocese Span 50 Years
The settlement does not detail the sexual abuse endured by the hundreds of victims. According to Jeff Anderson, who represents more than 70 of them, the abuse “occurred from the 1950s into the 1990s.” He also stated that most allegations of sexual abuse by clergy occurred primarily in the 1960s and 1970s.
According to the Associated Press, more than two dozen states have released lists of clergy suspected of sexually abusing minors. In 2019, the five NJ dioceses released a list of more than 180 priests credibly accused of sexually abusing children over decades.
Bishop Apologizes To Victims Of Clergy Sexual Abuse
Following the settlement announcement Bishop Dennis Sullivan issued a statement saying,
“I want to express my sincere apology to all those who have been affected by sexual abuse in our Diocese. My prayers go out to all survivors of abuse and I pledge my continuing commitment to ensure that this terrible chapter in the history of the Diocese of Camden, New Jersey never happens again.”
Call Alonso Krangle, LLP If You Were Sexually Abused As A Child
Victims of child sexual abuse – especially those abused by clergy – have found renewed strength to come forward and face their abusers. This is partly due to the extended time they have to file lawsuits. It is also because victims around the country are speaking up, sharing their stories, seeking accountability, and receiving compensation after years of suffering.
The $87.5 million is just one of many large settlement agreements reached between the Catholic church and victims of clergy sexual abuse.
If you are a sexual abuse survivor, call Alonso Krangle, LLP, at 800-403-6191 to find out if you are entitled to file a lawsuit and hold your abusers accountable for your suffering.