- Dec 11, 2019
The clergy sexual abuse crisis continued to command a large amount of attention and action from the U.S. bishops throughout 2019.
Former Roman Catholic Cardinal Theodore McCarrick abused a teenage boy in the 1990s when he was leader of the Archdiocese of Newark, according to a lawsuit filed under a newly enacted New Jersey law that gives accusers more time to make legal claims.
Fifteen states have revised their laws in the past two years extending or suspending the statute of limitations to allow child sex abuse claims stretching back decades, unleashing potentially thousands of new lawsuits against the U.S. Roman Catholic Church.
Across the country, attorneys are scrambling to file a new wave of lawsuits alleging sexual abuse by clergy, thanks to rules enacted in 15 states that extend or suspend the statute of limitations to allow claims stretching back decades. Associated Press reporting found the deluge of suits could surpass anything the nation’s clergy sexual abuse crisis has seen before, with potentially more than 5,000 new cases and payouts topping $4 billion.
When Pennsylvania overhauled its child sexual abuse laws this week after a years-long battle, absent from the bill-signing ceremony were some of the people who had worked hardest for the changes.
The loosening of limits on sexual abuse claims in New Jersey is expected to create a tectonic shift in the way those lawsuits are brought, giving hope to victims who have long suffered in silence and exposing a broader spectrum of institutions to potential liability.