With growing pressure to identify clerics accused of sexual misconduct, the five Catholic dioceses of New Jersey opened their files on Wednesday and published the names of all priests and deacons "credibly charged" with sexually abusing a child for several decades to have.
There are 188 names on the lists of the five dioceses. Among them are 63 accused priests and deacons in the archdiocese of Newark, 56 in the diocese of Camden, 30 in the diocese of Trenton, 28 in the Diocese of Paterson and 11 in the Diocese of Metuchen.
The full list of the mentioned priests and deacons can be found at the end of this article. It will be updated with the additional names just released.
"In an effort to do the right and just, we publish the names of the diocesan clergy credibly accused of sexual abuse of minors in the archdiocese of Newark. This list of names is the result of a comprehensive review of the archdiocesan records from 1940. All names have been previously reported to law enforcement agencies, "said Cardinal Joseph Tobin, head of the archdiocese of Newark.
Dioceses across the country have published similar lists of accused priests in recent months. New Jersey is the first state in which every state diocese publishes its lists at once.
Who are the priests accused of abuse in NJ? Here is the list.
The dioceses voluntarily published the lists, although the release of the New Jersey General Prosecutor's Office set up a working group to investigate the sexual abuse of priests and to investigate the abuse of allegations of abuse by the Catholic Church.
"While this is a positive first step towards transparency and accountability, I hope that this spirit of openness will persist throughout our ongoing investigations and in response to our requests for files and information," said Attorney General Gurbir Grewal.
"Despite recent diocesan action, our investigation is ongoing, as no institution or individual is accountable," added Grewal.
The five dioceses have already worked together to create a new compensation fund, which was unveiled earlier this week to pay alleged victim settlements if they fail to file lawsuits against the church.
Among the lists of accused priests are many who have died, in addition to those who have retired from the ministry and been deprived of their position as clerics. However, most of the lists contain little information about what the priests were accused of, whether they were transferred to a parish by a parish, or whether they can continue serving with children after the charge.
In some of the dioceses, it was also not specified in which communities the accused priests served, which made it difficult for the parishioners to visit their churches.
In the diocese of Trenton, a spokeswoman said church officials were still working to include information in their list that contained only the names of the accused priests, their date of birth, date of ordination and their current status.
"To this day, we are still in the verification and verification process, which is why Bishop O & Connell has presented this as a preliminary list. We will update the list as soon as possible, "said Rayanne Bennett, a spokeswoman for the Diocese of Trenton.
The Diocese of Paterson said it intends to list the places where the priests served.
"We expect the list on the site to be supplemented in the following days as soon as we are satisfied with 100% accuracy," said Richard Sokerka, spokesman for the Diocese of Paterson.
Some of the names on the list of the archdiocese of Newark are:
– Former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, former head of the archdiocese of Newark and the Diocese of Metuchen, is the highest-ranking priest on the list. McCarrick resigned from the ministry and gave up his cardinal title last year after being charged with sexual misconduct by several priests and seminarians and the abuse of minors. He expects a church trial.
–Rev. John Capparelli, who was ordained in 1980, was accused of repeatedly seeking teenagers for young men in the 1970s and 1980s when he worked as a public mathematics teacher in the Newark school district and was still in the ministry. He agreed to revoke his teaching credentials in 2013 and was later definitively expelled from the ministry.
–Rev. Michael Fugee, who worked in communities in Newark, Rochelle Park, Short Hills and Wyckoff, was taken out of the Ministry by the Vatican in March 2014 for repeatedly opposing a lifelong ban on working with children. The refugee was accused of having participated in juvenile retreats and hearing confessions from minors, even though he had signed a court-approved ordinance prohibiting such activities. His case was described in April 2013 in a report in The Star-Ledger.
The lists were published after the five dioceses of New Jersey – Newark, Camden, Paterson, Metuchen and Trenton – who announced on Monday the creation of a Victims Compensation Fund and a counseling program for victims of sexual abuse by clergy and other church workers.
The Attorney General's office in New Jersey last year launched an investigation into how the five dioceses of the state dealt with allegations of sexual abuse. The Attorney General's Task Force has set up a hotline (855) 363-6548, where alleged victims are reported to report abuse.
The lists are expected to contain only the names of priests and deacons who have worked in the dioceses of New Jersey. The names of other members of the New Jersey clergy charged with abuse, such as Jesuit priests, Benedictine monks and those who have worked in schools and organizations run by religious orders, are not expected to be mentioned.
Tobin said publishing the diocesan lists of New Jersey was part of major changes in the church.
"The disclosure of this list of names is not an endpoint in our process. It is more a reflection of our commitment to protect our children and a new level of transparency in the way we report and respond to abuse allegations. We always have to protect our children first and foremost, "said Tobin.
Some critics said they were pleased that the Catholic Church opened their files for allegations of abuse, but they were skeptical and the church leaders were truly transparent.
"Given the large number of priests who have been identified as sexual abusers, and the period in which sexual abuse has taken place, it is fair to say that the archdiocese and dioceses in New Jersey have forgotten how to be moral with children and friendly, "said Mitchell Garabedian, a Boston lawyer featured in the movie" Spotlight, "who has represented more than 50 alleged victims of sexual abuse in cases against the Catholic Church in New Jersey.
Senator Joseph Vitale, D-Middlesex, a long-time advocate of abuse victims, who also urged to lift New Jersey's civil claims for child molestation claims against priests, wondered if some priests could be removed from the list.
"I think this list is decades overdue," said Vitale. "I'm grateful they shared these names, especially for those who may have been their victims. Time will tell if this list is complete. "
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