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Catholic Dioceses In NJ To Name Priests Accused Of Abusing Kids

November 20, 2018 - 9:49 am
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NEWARK, N.J. (WCBS 880) -- The Catholic church in New Jersey has announced a plan to reveal early next year the name of all priests who have been credibly accused of abusing children.

Cardinal Joseph Tobin, the state's highest ranking cleric, made the announcement in a statement Monday.

The alleged abusers are being named at a time when the church is facing a slew of controversies involving sex abuse and cover-ups.

The church is conducting a “complete review” of abuse allegations, establishing a victim compensation fund and counseling programs as part of an effort to address the problem, but advocates for victims have expressed doubt about the thoroughness of the church’s investigation, according to NorthJersey.com.

Among the skeptics is Robert Hoatson, a former Catholic priest with the Newark Archdiocese, who now heads the group Road to Recovery.

Hoatson says the compensation program is a vague attempt to kill a bill, the Child Victims Act, which would extend the statute of limitations for priest sex abuse victims.

“The bill would open a two-year window during which any child who was sexually abused in the state of New Jersey can bring their abuser to court,” Hoatson said.

In June, Pope Francis accepted the resignation of Theodore McCarrick, a former archbishop of Newark and Washington, D.C.

“I knew at least the rumors about McCarrick, and I was assured that he had stopped his sleeping with seminarians, but we find out later that he had also abused children,” Hoatson said.

It’s not known how many abusers the church has identified in connection with credible abuse allegations, but a spokesman for the Newark Archdiocese tells NorthJersey.com they are trying to address the issue with transparency and honesty.

The spokesman said the archdiocese is working with New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal to look into past abuse allegations.

In September, Grewal launched a task force to probe abuse by clergy members.

The Justice Department also opened an investigation into child sexual abuse at Catholic churches in Pennsylvania this year after a grand jury report found hundreds of priests abused more than 1,000 minors in the state over a 70-year period and that there may have been cover-ups.