Church Against The Horizon

Priest Abuse In New Jersey

The five Catholic dioceses of New Jersey have named at least 188 priests credibly accused of child sexual abuse. As investigations continue, state lawmakers and survivors are seeking justice for clergy abuse victims.

In 2019, lawmakers passed Senate Bill 477 (S477), expanding the rights of abuse survivors. The bill extended the state’s legal deadline for civil claims of child sexual abuse. Additionally, it opened a two-year “look back” window to revive expired cases of abuse.

The New Jersey “look back” window closes on November 30, 2021.

Were You Abused by a Priest in New Jersey?

You May Have Rights to Legal Compensation

The five Catholic dioceses of New Jersey have named at least 188 priests credibly accused of child sexual abuse. As investigations continue, state lawmakers and survivors are seeking justice for clergy abuse victims.

In 2019, lawmakers passed Senate Bill 477 (S477), expanding the rights of abuse survivors. The bill extended the state’s legal deadline for civil claims of child sexual abuse. Additionally, it opened a two-year “look back” window to revive expired cases of abuse.

The New Jersey “look back” window closes on November 30, 2021.

Were You Abused by a Priest in New Jersey?

You May Have Rights to Legal Compensation

New Jersey Clergy Sex Abuse Lawsuits

The New Jersey “look back” window opened on December 1, 2019. Since then, survivors have filed more than 230 priest abuse lawsuits against the New Jersey Catholic dioceses. These lawsuits represent more than 240 survivors. The majority of the abuse allegations occurred in the 1970s and 1980s. Nearly half of the priests named in these lawsuits are deceased.

However, survivors have legal options even when an abusive priest is deceased. For example, in May 2021, a survivor filed one of the most recent cases against the Newark Archdiocese. The plaintiff claims the former Newark archbishop, Peter Gerety, sexually abused her multiple times in the 1970s. The plaintiff was five years old when the abuse began.

Clergy Abuse Settlements In New Jersey

The five New Jersey dioceses have paid at least $50 million in clergy abuse settlements. Individually, each diocese has paid thousands of dollars to compensate abuse survivors. For example, since 2003, the Paterson Diocese has paid at least $12.5 million to settle abuse claims. 

Some of the more notable New Jersey diocese settlements are listed below.

YearDioceseSettlementVictim(s)
2004Newark$1,070,00010
2005Paterson$5,000,00027
2011Trenton$1,000,0005
2013Newark$650,0005
2014Trenton$610,0001
2019Newark$400,0005

To reduce the number of lawsuits and settlements against the church, the dioceses opened a victim compensation program in 2019.

New Jersey Dioceses Compensation Fund

In February 2019, the five dioceses of New Jersey created the Independent Victim Compensation Program (IVCP). Survivors of New Jersey clergy abuse were able to file claims for compensation from the dioceses.

As of January 31, 2020, registration for the IVCP is closed.

As of January 2020, the IVCP authorized $11 million in payouts to 69 applicants. Hundreds of applications are still being reviewed.

In August 2020, the Diocese of Camden suspended its participation in the IVCP. The diocese cited lost revenue caused by COVID-19 restrictions as the reason behind its decision. The Camden Diocese will pay any awards already determined by the program coordinators. However, all unresolved claims against the diocese will be paused for the foreseeable future. 

The ICVP will continue reviewing and processing claims made against the Archdiocese of Newark, the Diocese of Metuchen, the Diocese of Paterson and the Diocese of Trenton.

Survivors who do not wish to seek compensation through the IVCP may still file a lawsuit against the diocese that covered up their abuse. Our clergy abuse lawyers can help you determine the best option for your unique circumstances.

New Jersey Diocese Bankruptcy

In October 2020, the Diocese of Camden filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. It was the first diocese in New Jersey to seek bankruptcy protection following the passage of Bill S477, which opened a “look-back” window for survivors.

Bishop Dennis J. Sullivan cited costly victim settlements and revenue lost during the pandemic as reasons behind the decision. According to the bishop, the diocese paid more than $8 million to victims before filing for bankruptcy.

Child Sex Abuse Statutes Of Limitations In New Jersey

A statute of limitations (SOL) is a legal deadline. Statutes vary based on the jurisdiction, the crime and the intended legal action (i.e., criminal charges versus a civil claim).

Like most states, New Jersey has two distinct statutes of limitations for child sexual abuse claims. One applies to criminal charges, and one is used for civil claims.

In 2019, lawmakers passed Senate Bill 477 (S477) to extend the state’s civil statute for claims of sexual abuse. The bill also opened a two-year retroactive window. This window revives all expired cases of child sexual abuse for two years. In doing so, it allows survivors with older claims of abuse to seek legal justice.

Civil Statutes For Child Sex Abuse In New Jersey

In New Jersey, child sexual abuse survivors must file a civil claim before they reach 55 years of age.

The state also has a seven-year discovery rule. Any survivor, regardless of their age, may file a civil claim within seven years of discovering an injury caused by abuse. 

Before New Jersey lawmakers extended the legal deadline, survivors had only two years to file a legal claim. People who were abused as minors had to file a claim before turning 20 years old. 

Despite offering many survivors more time to file, the new civil statute is not retroactive. Under the new statute, many survivors with older claims are still time-barred from seeking legal action. To remedy this issue, lawmakers opened a two-year “look back” window. 

New Jersey’s “Look Back” Window

Under New Jersey’s “look back” window, anyone can file a civil claim of child sexual abuse in the state of New Jersey. 

The “look back” window applies to both child and adult sexual abuse claims. It also applies to claims filed against abusive individuals, private institutions and government entities. 

The two-year window opened on December 1, 2019. Victims of sexual abuse may file sex abuse claims until November 30, 2021.

You May Have New Legal Rights

Speak With Our Lawyers About New Jersey’s Legal Window

Criminal Statutes For Child Sex Abuse In New Jersey

In New Jersey, there is no criminal statute of limitations for felony or aggravated sexual assault. 

Other sexual offenses or incidents of child abuse may abide by a different criminal statute. Learn more about New Jersey’s criminal statutes as they relate to child sexual abuse here

List Of Priests Accused Of Abuse In New Jersey

This list contains the names of clergy members and priests in the New Jersey dioceses facing allegations of sexual abuse. 

This list does not include diocesan staff members, volunteers or parishioners facing similar allegations. However, you may still be able to file a civil claim against these accused individuals.

If you or a loved one has been abused by a clergy member in the New Jersey dioceses, contact us about your legal rights. We can help you get the justice and compensation you deserve.

Survivors May Be Eligible For Compensation

Learn About Filing a Claim in New Jersey


There Are 82 Accused Clergy Members From The Archdiocese Of Newark, NJ:

If you believe the priest you are looking for is facing allegations in a different state, use our nationwide searchable database of accused priests.

You may still have a claim against an abuser, even if you do not find the name of your abuser on our New Jersey list or within our database. As more information comes to light, more names may be added to our database.

Even if your abuser is not listed in our database, we want to hear from you. We want to help. Reach out today to learn more about your legal options.

New Jersey Priest Abuse Victim Resources

Victims of sexual violence do not need to process the trauma alone. In the state of New Jersey, there are many resources and organizations a survivor can contact for help. The expandable table below provides information on each New Jersey county’s sexual violence program.

New Jersey Sexual Violence Programs by County

CountyFacility NamePhone Number(s)
AtlanticAvanzarHotline: 800-286-4184
Office: 609-601-9925
BergenhealingSPACE
YWCA of Bergen County
Hotline: 201-487-2227
BurlingtonCONTACT of Burlington CountyHotline: 856-234-8888
Hotline: 866-234-5006
Office: 856-234-5484
CamdenServices Empowering the Rights of Victims (SERV)
Center for Family Services
Hotline: 1-866-295-SERV (7378)
Office: 856-964-1990
Cape MayC.A.R.A., Inc.Office: 609-522-6489
Toll-Free: 1-877-294-2272
CumberlandServices Empowering the Rights of Victims (SERV)
Center for Family Services
Hotline: 800-225-0196
Office: 856-696-2032
EssexSAVE of Essex County
Family Service League, Inc.
Hotline: 877-733-CARE (2273)
Office: 973-746-0800
GloucesterServices Empowering the Rights of Victims (SERV)
Center for Family Services
Hotline: 1-866-295-SERV (7378)
HudsonHudson S.P.E.A.K.S (Formerly known as Hudson County Rape Crisis Center)
CAREPOINT Foundation
Hotline: 201-795-5757
HunterdonSAFE in HunterdonHotline: 888-988-4033
Office: 908-788-7666
Toll-Free: 888-988-4033
MercerWomanspaceHotline: 609-394-9000
Office: 609-394-0136
MiddlesexMiddlesex County Center for EmpowermentHotline: 1-877-665-7273
Office: 732-321-1189
Monmouth180 Turning Lives AroundHotline: 888-264-7273
Office: 732-264-4111
MorrisAtlantic Behavioral HealthHotline: 973-829-0587
OceanSt. Francis Community CenterHotline: 609-494-1090
Office: 609-494-1554
PassaicPassaic County Women’s CenterHotline: 973-881-1450
Office: 973-881-0725
SalemSalem County Women’s ServicesHotline: 856-935-6655
SomersetSexual Assault Support Services (SASS),
Zufall Health Center
Hotline: 908-526-7444
Office: 908-526-2335
SussexDomestic Abuse & Sexual Assault Services (DASI)Hotline: 973-875-1211
TTY: 973-875-6369
Office: 973-579-2386
UnionUnion County Rape Crisis CenterHotline: 908-233-7273
TTY: 908-232-1435
WarrenDomestic Abuse and Sexual Assault Crisis Center (DASACC)Hotline: 908.453.4181
Office: 908.453.4121
Sources:New Jersey Coalition Against Sexual Assault

New Jersey Priest Abuse FAQs

What Is The Statute Of Limitations On Priest Sexual Abuse In New Jersey?

Currently, any survivor of childhood priest abuse can file a civil lawsuit in the state of New Jersey. New Jersey has an open “look back” window that revives all child sexual abuse cases. Eligible survivors should consider filing a claim soon. The “look back” window closes on November 30, 2021.

Learn more about child sexual abuse statutes in New Jersey here >

How Do I Report Sexual Abuse By A Priest In New Jersey?

If you or a suspected victim is in danger, call 911 immediately.

The state of New Jersey has several hotlines to report child sexual abuse:

New Jersey Child Protection and Permanency (CP&P)

Hotline: 1-877-NJ-ABUSE (652-2873)

New Jersey Coalition Against Sexual Assault (NJCASA)

Hotline: 1-800-601-7200

New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal is investigating Catholic priest abuse in New Jersey. People may report cases of sexual abuse by a clergy member to the investigation by calling a special 24-hour hotline at 855-363-6548.

Reporting the abuse to the state Attorney General’s Office does not prevent a victim from reporting the crime to law enforcement or the County Prosecutor’s Office for criminal prosecution.

Report Sexual Abuse & Assault

Visit Our Resource Page to Learn More

You can also report incidents of clergy abuse to the relevant diocese:

  • Report Abuse To The Newark Archdiocese

    Victim’s Assistance Coordinator
    Phone: 201-407-3256

  • Report Abuse To The Camden Diocese

    Diocese’s Victim’s Assistance Coordinator
    Phone: 1-800-964-6588
    Email: [email protected]

  • Report Abuse To The Metuchen Diocese

    Doranne Rossiter | Director of Child and Youth Protection
    Phone: 908-930-4558

  • Report Abuse To The Paterson Diocese

    Ken Mullaney | Diocesan General Counsel
    Phone: 973-777-8818, ext. 240
    Email: [email protected]

  • Report Abuse To The Trenton Diocese

    Phone: 1-888-296-2965
    Email: [email protected]

Do I Have To Currently Live In New Jersey To File A New Jersey Priest Abuse Lawsuit?

No. A plaintiff does not need to live in the state of New Jersey to file a clergy abuse lawsuit in the state. However, there must be some connection in the case to New Jersey.

Examples of a notable legal connection include the following:

  • The abuse occurred in New Jersey.
  • The responsible institution is headquartered in New Jersey.

Once identified, this connection can dictate how an experienced clergy abuse attorney handles each specific case.

New Jersey Clergy Abuse News

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Ron Meneo, Managing Partner at Meneo Law Group.

Meneo Group managing partner: Ron Meneo

Ron Meneo is the managing partner of The Meneo Law Group. With more than 40 years of experience, he represents clients across the country on a variety of complex legal matters, including personal injury due to institutional sexual abuse, unsafe pharmaceutical drugs and other practice areas. He is a recipient of Martindale-Hubbell’s prestigious AV® Preeminent Rating. He has also served as an editor and contributor for several legal journals.

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