Why would a Catholic school seek to deny justice for victims of sexual abuse?

Jun 10, 2020 | All, Mark Crawford, Opinion

So one must ask, why last month a New Jersey Catholic institution of Benedictine Monks, who operate the Delbarton School and have acknowledged an appalling amount of sexual abuse committed by their clerics against young students, took action in Morris County Superior Court to deny EVERY sexual abuse victim in New Jersey, anyone abused as a child or an adult, by any predator, not just clergy, by asking the court to find the new law “unconstitutional”? The judge in this case made it abundantly clear, the new law and the window of justice it created was in fact constitutional. We have seen the same efforts in other states recently, too, New York, Pennsylvania and again just last week in Rhode Island as Catholic institutions work overtime to reverse a national trend extending victims’ rights.

Why would a Catholic school seek to deny justice for victims of sexual abuse?

As citizens from every corner of this nation rightfully raise their voices crying out against grave injustices is it not clear that abuse of power, lack of transparency and the failure to hold accountable those who abuse their trust inflicts immeasurable harm on the fabric of our society? One need not look far to see some parallels between recent national protests and the Catholic church’s sexual abuse scandal; sacred institutions betrayed the trust of the people they are here to protect and serve.

For the better part of two decades, victims of sexual abuse pleaded with state lawmakers to fix New Jersey’s outdated statute of limitation laws. Several bills came and went as our New Jersey Catholic bishops hired high powered lobbyists and their own arsenal of attorneys from the Catholic Conference to oppose such measures at every opportunity.

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Jun 10, 2020
Star-Ledger Guest Columnist
Mark Crawford