When the two year window opened in New Jersey on December 1st for residents who had been previously time barred from filing lawsuits for the sexual abuse they suffered, it also allowed for some Pennsylvania survivors to file suit because their abuse occurred in the state of New Jersey
Two cases that were filed against the Archdiocese of Philadelphia involved abuse of minors who were taken to popular New Jersey shore destinations. The shore destinations are less than a two hour drive from Philadelphia and in decades past when sex abuse crimes perpetrated by clergy were not known to most parents, it was considered almost an honor for a kid to be chosen to take trip with a priest. What could be safer?
The following paragraphs detail several acts of alleged sexual abuse
When a priest is removed from ministry for a credible allegation of sexual abuse the official statement is short on details. In the civil complaints filed against the Archdiocese this week for alleged abuse by Fr John Schmeer, and former priest John Paul, the details are horrific. Schmeer’s history of abuse in the Archdiocese had been highlighted in the 2005 Grand Report and the civil complaint reads much like those records. In the case filed this week, a terrifying night was detailed when the young boy was taken by Schmeer to Mystic Island N.J.
Former priest, John Paul, was placed on administrative leave in 2013, and laicized in 2015. The Archdiocese was forced to announce that they had been investigating Paul for an entire year in 2013 when he published a bizarre resignation letter to his parish. The very day that news broke, people alleging abuse or inappropriateness by Paul came to our site and commented.
When Paul was found unsuitable for ministry in 2014 based on a credible allegation of sexual abuse, the Archdiocesan statement did not include details of how many cases were reported against him or the details of the abuse. The civil complaint filed this week in New Jersey alleges indecent contact,vaginal intercourse and oral sex involving a 15 year old Bishop McDevitt student. Paul was assigned to Bishop McDevitt High School in Wyncote, PA from 1975-1986. The survivor suffered alleged abuse by Paul in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. That unfortunate trip across the bridge as a teen has now allowed access to pursue a civil claim in New Jersey.
A Glimmer of Hope
A local survivor whose report against Paul involved alleged abuse in Montgomery County, will not be able to file a civil complaint due to lack of window legislation in Pennsylvania. After hearing of the N.J. filing this week against the Archdiocese of Philadelphia involving alleged abuse by Paul she feels some sense of resolution that the civil case of one survivor might lead to answers for others. She wants answers on how Paul’s alleged abusive behavior went unchecked for years. As with many survivors she wants answers and puts a greater value on that then a monetary compensation.
In Paul’s case we have heard that not every person who cooperated with the Archdiocesan investigation even had their case presented to the Review Board of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. Up until this time, with no court case, and not all cases involving Paul presented to to the Review Board, it seemed like a dead end for the survivors to be able to connect the dots and discover who knew what…and when.
Until a window opened in New Jersey.
https://www.inquirer.com/news/new-jersey-sex-abuse-lawsuits-dioceses-camden-philadelphia-mccarrick-fortney-boy-scouts-20191203.htmlTo read more on cases filed in New Jersey this week: Catholic Church, Boy Scouts hit with dozens of sex abuse suits under new N.J. Extending victims’ rights to sue