Accused Priests Rank Among the Most Notorious Perpetrators of Child Sexual Abuse in the History of the Diocese
(Trenton, NJ) – Today, attorneys from the law firms of Jeff Anderson & Associates and Gianforcaro Law, on behalf of three survivors, filed three (3) lawsuits for childhood sexual abuse against the Diocese of Trenton. The cases, brought under the New Jersey Child Sexual Abuse Act / New Jersey Victims’ Rights Bill (S.477), identify three (3) child abusers formerly assigned within the Diocese.
“The courageous survivors bringing suit today are reclaiming the power that was stolen from them as children,” said attorney Greg Gianforcaro. “We are honored to stand with them in their excavation of truths that have been hidden for decades.”
The complaints name as perpetrators:
- Father Joseph McHugh, accused of sexually abusing a minor from approximately 1980 to 1982 at Our Lady of Perpetual Help (Maple Shade, NJ) when the plaintiff was approximately 10 to 12 years old. In 2006, Fr. McHugh was criminally charged and pled guilty to sexually abusing a child while a priest at St. Thomas More Church (Manalapan, NJ). He was placed on the Megan’s Law Registry for sexual offenders where he remained until the time of his death.
- Fr. Douglas U. Hermansen, accused of sexually abusing a minor from approximately 1985 to 1986 at St. Rose of Lima (Freehold, NJ) when the plaintiff was approximately 12 to 13 years old. Fr. Hermansen was listed as credibly accused of the sexual abuse of a minor by the Diocese of Trenton in February 2019.
- Fr. Ronald Becker, accused of sexually abusing a minor in approximately 1982 at Incarnation (Trenton, NJ) when the plaintiff was approximately 12 years old. Fr. Becker is one of the Diocese’s most heinous sexual predators. In 2011, the Diocese settled with five survivors who were sexually abused by Fr. Becker. He is also known to have sexually abused his niece.
“New Jersey’s Child Sexual Abuse Act has opened the courthouse doors for survivors of any age to speak out about the horrors they suffered as children and take action to better protect kids in the future,” said attorney Jeff Anderson. “These survivors are holding the Diocese accountable and making New Jersey safer for children. It’s time for a reckoning in the Diocese of Trenton.”