Pennsylvania’s Revelations Trigger Investigations in New Jersey and New York
Recent news of Pennsylvania’s shocking grand jury report detailing thousands of instances of sexual abuse within the Catholic Church within dioceses throughout the state has drawn worldwide attention. The horrific report reveals that more than 300 “predator priests” abused more than 1,000 victims (and probably many thousands more will come forward) in cases that span decades. The revelations have pushed law makers in Pennsylvania to consider lifting the statute of limitations on cases of sexual abuse so that perpetrators can be brought to justice and victims can receive compensation. But as you might imagine the problems of institutional sexual abuse are not restricted to Pennsylvania, and more states, including neighboring New Jersey, are examining their own clerical sexual abuse problems…
New Jersey Priest Abuse Hotline Ringing off the Hook
New Jersey, along with New York, has one of the largest Catholic populations in the country, and many are wondering if a scandal of even greater proportions than in Pennsylvania will emerge in New Jersey. Attorney generals in New York and New Jersey have already set up hotlines for individuals who would like to speak with investigators and report instances of sexual abuse. The result in only just a few days has been overwhelming, with so many calls coming in to the hotlines that operators have been unable to handle the volume.
The hotline activity seems to indicate that we will soon see similarly disturbing and far-reaching reports of predatory priests, sexual abuse, and cover-ups emerging from the entire Tri-state area. It remains to be seen whether New Jersey lawmakers, like those in PA, will be forced by public opinion to consider lifting the statute of limitations on sexual abuse crimes so that victims can bring perpetrators to justice and seek compensation from them and the Catholic Church that harbored them.