NJ- New clergy sex case filed
Victim will speak publicly for the first time
Lawsuit names former bishops in Newark
A press conference to announce a newly filed lawsuit against the Catholic Church by a survivor of childhood sexual abuse who was abused more than 30 years ago by a priest at St. Mary’s RC Church in Rutherford, NJ.
Tuesday, October 7, 2014, at 1:30 p.m.
The Statehouse in Trenton, NJ (125 W State St, Trenton, NJ 08608 In front of main entrance)
Four-five victims of clergy sex crimes who belong to an international support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, including the organization’s long time NJ leader
A lawsuit has been filed last month against the Archdiocese of Newark (and several former bishops) by a former Rutherford man who was abused as a child by a Catholic priest assigned to St. Mary’s Parish.
The abusive priest, Rev. David A. Ernst, died in 1988, after serving 34 years in 5 different parishes within the Archdiocese. Several other survivors have come forward in the past accusing Ernst of abuse. The Archdiocese of Newark included Ernst in a 2004 $1 million settlement where nine priests were accused of sexually abusing children
Ernst was ordained as a priest in 1954 and worked at the following parishes: St. Mary’s, Help of Christians/Our Lady of Help of Christians, in East Orange; St. Francis’ in Ridgefield Park; St. Mary’s in Rutherford; St. Joseph’s in Union City; and St. Elizabeth’s in Wyckoff. His work history and photo can be found at
The most-recent accuser will speak publicly before the press about his ordeal for the first time since coming forward in 2010. The 48-year-old man, who now lives in Hoboken, NJ, met with the Archdiocese Review Board who deemed his accusations “credible.” After failing to reach a mediated settlement, the accuser decided to file a lawsuit in Bergen County against the Archdiocese of Newark, the parish of St. Mary’s in Rutherford, and two former archbishops, Peter L. Gerety and Theodore E. McCarrick.
Gerety, 102, is the oldest living bishop in the United States. He served as Bishop of Portland, Ore, from 1969 to 1974, when he became Archbishop of Newark. He served there until 1986. McCarrick, 84, served as Archbishop of Newark from 1986, when he became Archbishop of Washington where he served until his retirement in 2006.
The press conference is being held in Trenton to highlight the fight to change New Jersey’s statute of limitations for childhood sexual abuse crimes. Victims of sexual abuse in New Jersey currently have two years to sue after discovering other problems, such as depression, are connected to the abuse.
The survivor listed in this lawsuit as “S.M.” will speak about his abuse, his life since and his mission to eliminate the statute of limitations in New Jersey. Questions will be allowed afterward and “S.M.” will make arrangements for individual interviews, if requested.
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.