LAW FIRM FILES 5 MORE SUITS ALLEGING PAST CHILD SEX ABUSE BY DEAD CATHOLIC PRIESTS
January 7, 2021
A law firm specializing in representing abuse victims has filed five additional lawsuits against the Archdiocese of Newark alleging priests sexuallly molested children going back decades.
Three of the priests have been credibly accused of abuse in the past, their names and allegations made public by Catholic dioceses in New Jersey. All five are deceased.
The suits were filed by Jeff Anderson & Associates, along with New Jersey attorney Greg Gianforcaro. They have filed numerous similar lawsuits in the Garden State since late 2019, when a new state law relaxed statute of limitations on such cases, opening a two-year lookback window for victims to file suit.
Two of the suits allege abuse by priests Daniel Meehan and Caesar Orrico, who were not on the credibly accused clergy list, made public in early 2019.
One suit alleges Meehan, when he was assigned to Our Lady of Grace Church in Hoboken in the 1960s, molested a minor in 1967 and 1968 when the victim was 10 and 11.
Meehan died in 1976 at the age of 72, the New York Times reported at the time.
Orrico is accused of sexually abusing a minor from 1953 to 1958 while assigned to the Church of the Assumption in Emerson when the victim was 9 to 14 years old, one suit says. He died in 2003, an online obituary says.
The suits also allege molestation by priests David Ernst, John Morel and John Capparelli, who are on the credibly accused list.
Ernst is accused in the new case of abusing a 12-year-old victim at St. Francis Church in Bayonne in 1973. Ernst died in 1988.
Morel is accused of sexual contact from 1963 to 1970 with a victim who was 10 to 17 years old, while at Holy Family Church in Union City. He died in 1999.
And Capparelli is accused of molesting a teen from 1983 to 1986 when the victim was 15 to 17 years old at Oratory Preparatory School in Summit.
Caparelli was thrown out of the priesthood in the 1990s and later moved to Henderson, Nevada, next to Las Vegas, where he was found murdered, shot dead in his home, in early 2019. The suspect, Derrick Decoste, 26, is scheduled for trial in May, the district attorney there said.
“Today these brave survivors are coming forward to break down the walls of concealment that the Archdiocese has been reinforcing with duplicity and deceit for decades,” Anderson said in a statement. “We stand with all survivors in the continuing pursuit of justice, healing, and the protection of children.”
The Newark Archdiocese said it cannot comment on pending cases, but said the organization “will continue to work with victims, their legal representatives and law enforcement to resolve allegations and bring closure to those affected by past abuse.”
“In our Archdiocese, we have worked diligently to create safe environments in which to worship, learn, and gather in our parishes, schools and other pastoral settings, and it is our commitment to build on the efforts of the past and continue to improve upon them,” the archdiocese said in a statement.
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