NJ Catholics cleared by church to discuss sex abuse allegations in public

Victims can report priestly misconduct to a hotline.

David Madden
September 19, 2018 - 3:11 pm
Roman Catholic priest
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TRENTON, N.J. (KYW Newsradio) — Catholics in New Jersey who were victims of sex abuse allegedly at the hands of a priest are now free to talk about their experience, at least from the church’s point of view.

The decision, announced by the New Jersey Catholic Conference, comes as the state attorney general has opened a hotline for those victims to tell investigators all about it. That hotline is said to be busy since it began operation a few weeks ago, but no criminal charges have yet been filed.

Conference Executive Director Patrick Brannigan, in a printed statement, acknowledged that some victims signed confidentiality agreements with the church. But he says those settlements “were intended solely to compensate victims, not silence them.” The official church stance, at least in New Jersey, is clear. No action will be taken if a victim speaks out, regardless of any past confidentiality clause.

Brannigan was out of the office and not available to discuss his statement with KYW Newsradio, and a call to the Diocese of Camden was not returned.

Victims of priestly sex abuse who wish to report to the state may dial 855-363-6548 within New Jersey and 609-963-6951 out of state.