By Stephen A. Weiss, Seeger Weiss LLP
New Jersey has been at the epicenter of a reckoning for the Catholic Church. Last month, Governor Phil Murphy signed into law a bill that gives survivors of sexual abuse more time to hold institutions like the Church accountable, which for decades swept allegations under the rug. Meanwhile, the Attorney General’s office has established a task force to determine the extent of the Church’s cover-up. And the former Archbishop of Newark, Theodore McCarrick, was laicized for sexual misconduct against adults and minors.
While the new law in New Jersey was largely framed as a way to hold the Church accountable – and it certainly does – abuse is neither a “Catholic” problem nor a specifically religious one. As more survivors now feel empowered to tell their stories, we are learning that too many powerful institutions that were supposed to serve children were in fact abusing them. While the reckoning may have started with the Catholic Church, that is hardly where it will end.