Diocese of Camden Seeks to Shorten Claims Window for Clergy Abuse Survivors by Six Months

“The plan and shortened time limit proposed by the Bishop is callous, unprecedented, and hurtful,” says attorney Jeff Anderson

Bankruptcy bar date hearing tomorrow

(Camden, NJ) – Tomorrow, in U.S. Bankruptcy Court District of New Jersey, the Diocese of Camden will ask Judge Jerrold Poslusny to severely limit the amount of time survivors of clergy sexual abuse have to file claims against the Diocese. The proposed date, May 31, 2021, cuts short the time allowed by the New Jersey Victims’ Rights Bill by six months.

“The plan and shortened timed limit proposed by the Bishop is callous, unprecedented, and hurtful to the survivors they allowed to be hurt so long ago,” said attorney Jeff Anderson.

Presented in 2019 as “an important next step in the healing process for victims of clergy sexual abuse in New Jersey” the Diocese announced an Independent Victim Compensation Program. Since then, the Diocese has worked to secure its assets, file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, and formulate a plan of reorganization that baldly prioritizes self-interest over accountability to survivors.

“The Bishop’s promises of healing, support and acknowledgment were nothing more than a ruse,” said Anderson. “What makes this ruse so egregious is the thinness of the façade. There is no consideration in this plan for those hurt by Camden clergy, only contempt.”

As the first Roman Catholic Diocese in New Jersey to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection after the passage of the Victims Rights Bill, the results of this hearing will send a significant message across New Jersey to survivors and bishops alike about what to expect in the year ahead. “It is imperative that this filing does not impede access to justice for survivors of sexual assault at the hands of members of the Camden Diocese,” wrote several New Jersey legislators in a joint statement released earlier this month. “No single bankruptcy process should be able to shorten the timeline established by the 2019 law.”