Over 300 alleged sexual abuse victims got some relief on April 19, 2022, when the New Jersey Diocese of Camden agreed to pay $87.5 million to settle claims involving clergy sex abuse. The agreement was filed with US Bankruptcy Court in Camden but still must go for approval before a US bankruptcy judge. Notably, the Diocese of Camden left its insurers out of the settlement, meaning survivors can get paid by the Diocese and still preserve their claims against the Diocese’s insurance carriers. This may become the new model for settlements in bankruptcies as insurance carriers are becoming increasingly difficult to negotiate with – and the Dioceses are often anxious to get out from under the burden and expense of bankruptcy.
The Diocese of Camden, which encompasses six counties in southern New Jersey, filed for Chapter 11 federal bankruptcy protection to resolve all outstanding claims of sexual abuse back in October 2020. This came about after the Diocese received dozens of claims of sexual abuse by Catholic clergy within the six counties. The number of clams has since grown, stemming from the extended final bar date ending about one year ago.
According to media reports, the details of each case were not released; however, it notes that the alleged sexual abuse occurred from the 1950s to the 1990s, with the height being in the 1960s and 1970s. The diocese reported that the deal calls for setting up a trust, which will be funded over four years by the diocese and “related Catholic entities” to compensate over 300 survivors of sexual abuse. Part of the deal also requires maintaining or “enhancing” protocols to protect children. Abuse survivors who filed a claim in the bankruptcy before June 2021 could be looking at average settlement of approximately $290,000.
Bishop Dennis Sullivan stated in a press statement, “I want to express my sincere apology to all those who have been affected by sexual abuse in our diocese. My prayers go out to all survivors of abuse, and I pledge my continuing commitment to ensure that this terrible chapter in the history of the Diocese of Camden, New Jersey, never happens again.”
In 2019, New Jersey’s five Catholic Dioceses listed more than 180 priests combined who have been credibly accused of sexually abusing minors over several decades. Many priests listed were deceased, and others were removed from ministry. Those that were not found to be credible were most likely moved to a new parish.
Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergies nationwide. If you need a lawyer because you were sexually abused by a priest, contact our office today. Our lawyers have decades of experience representing survivors of clergy sexual abuse. Contact us at 855-485-1673 or [email protected] to discuss your options today. We can help.