New Jersey Dioceses Release Lists of Accused Clerics
Today, dioceses across the state of New Jersey have released their lists of clerics who have been “credibly” accused of abuse. We applaud this move but push for further action.
Between the dioceses of Camden, Metuchen, Newark, Paterson, and Trenton, 188 names of clergy who have been found to have abused children were released. These lists are critical for the prevention of abuse, the protection of children, and healing for survivors. We hope that seeing these names in print will bring solace to survivors and let victims who may still be suffering in silence find the strength to come forward and make a report of their abuse to law enforcement officials.
Yet we also know that there are more names of clerics who have hurt people in New Jersey that were not disclosed today. None of the lists released include the names of religious order or “extern” priests. While bishops often claim that they do not have authority over these clerics, the fact that they worked in New Jersey – regardless of whether they were brought there by a religious order leader or on loan from another diocese – behooves the inclusion of their names on these lists. If New Jersey bishops want to live up to their 2002 promise to be open and transparent, we believe that all those who hurt children while working in one of their dioceses should be listed.
Alongside these names, bishops should also include work histories – something that has only so far been done by the Archdiocese of Newark and the Diocese of Camden – so that parents and parishioners across the state are better informed and know where to look for other potential victims.
Fortunately, folks in New Jersey do not have to rely on Catholic hierarchs alone for complete transparency. We know that Attorney General Gurbir Grewal has been steadfast in his investigation into clergy abuse in his state and just a few months ago served subpoenas to uncover documents related to clergy abuse in New Jersey. We are looking forward to the results of his investigation so that we can not only have a better accounting of this crisis as it relates to New Jersey, but also to help provide pathways forward for prevention, protection, and healing.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for 30 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)
50 State AG Call for Grand Jury
Any investigation must be:
- independent of and separate from the church
- must have subpoena powers and ability to compel testimony under oath
Anything short of these criteria is a sham and whitewash.
In addition, write letters to the editor, make phone calls to politicians as they can apply pressure to keep them responsive to our demand. We need to make efforts to ensure that they follow up on what the state is doing to investigate these crimes.
The Attorneys General of forty states have inquired about the grand jury process in Pennsylvania. Let's get statewide investigations going in fifty states.
Note to Letter Writers
Use your own words and style of writing. Cut and paste from the templates as you wish. Include your experiences, whether as a survivor or as a member of the community. And relate your letter to the state you were abused in or state now living in.