SEVERE WX : Winter Storm Warning - Blizzard Warning View Alerts
CLOSINGS: View Closings

New Jersey sex abuse victims free to tell their stories about clergy, bishops say

Victims of sexual abuse at the hands of Catholic priests in New Jersey are released from any confidentiality...

Posted: Sep 20, 2018 12:58 AM
Updated: Sep 20, 2018 12:58 AM

Victims of sexual abuse at the hands of Catholic priests in New Jersey are released from any confidentiality agreements that dioceses imposed on them, the head of the New Jersey Catholic Conference said.

"Survivors of sexual abuse must be able to come forward and tell their story to law enforcement and to the church," Patrick Brannigan said in a statement Tuesday. "Coming forward is a step for healing and justice."

Belief, religion and spirituality

Catholic Church sexual abuse

Catholics and catholicism


Continents and regions

Crime, law enforcement and corrections

Crimes against persons

Criminal offenses

New Jersey

North America

Northeastern United States

Religious groups

Sex and gender issues

Sex crimes

Sexual assault


The Americas

United States

Religious leaders and clergy

Brannigan is the executive director of the New Jersey Catholic Conference, which represents Catholic bishops in the state on public policy matters.

Since 2002, Catholic dioceses dealing with sexual abuse allegations have been forbidden from entering into confidentiality agreements unless victims requested them. But cases handled before then may have silenced victims with binding legal terms -- a situation the New Jersey dioceses now are trying to rectify.

"Again, we do not object, and would not take any action, if a victim chose to speak out, even if there is a confidentiality provision in a settlement agreement," Brannigan said.

The move comes on the heels of last month's damning grand jury report on sexual abuse by more than 300 Catholic priests in Pennsylvania.

Soon after its release, New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal formed a task force to investigate similar incidents in his state. "We owe it to the people of New Jersey to find out whether the same thing happened here. If it did, we will take action against those responsible," Grewal said at the time.

His office is operating a 24/7 hotline for people to report allegations against clergy members.

New York Attorney General Barbara D. Underwood has also launched an investigation into her state's eight dioceses. And the Pennsylvania report sparked investigations into sex abuse allegations against Catholic clergy in other states as well.

Article Comments

Mason City
Hi: 24° Lo: 22°
Feels Like: -9°
Albert Lea
Hi: 24° Lo: 17°
Feels Like: -11°
Scattered Clouds
10° wxIcon
Hi: 25° Lo: 23°
Feels Like: -2°
Charles City
Hi: 23° Lo: 22°
Feels Like: -8°
Hi: 22° Lo: 21°
Feels Like: -17°
Winter Storm Warning
KIMT Radar
KIMT Eye in the sky

Latest Video


Sara's Early Morning Forecast - Friday


StormTeam 3: The latest on the winter storm


A shot at making history


Chris' PM Weather Forecast 1/16


JD Scholten Town Hall


Developing story: Arik Matson


Early voting starts Friday


winter sports tease


Helping Homeless in Winter


Breast Milk donations needed

Community Events