Five Child Sexual Abuse Lawsuits Filed Against the Archdiocese of Newark

Fr. Daniel Meehan and Fr. Caesar Orrico Named Publicly For the First Time in Claims Filed Under New Jersey Sexual Abuse Act

(Newark, NJ) – Today on behalf of five (5) courageous survivors, the firms of Jeff Anderson & Associates and Gianforcaro Law filed five (5) sexual abuse complaints against the Archdiocese of Newark. The cases, brought under the New Jersey Sexual Abuse Act, publicly identify for the first time Fr. Daniel Meehan and Fr. Caesar Orrico as child sexual abusers, as well as notorious abusers Fr. David Ernst, Fr. John Morel and Fr. John Capparelli.

“These cases serve as proof that the Archdiocese put children at grave risk and cared more about their reputation than the safety of the children in their care,” said attorney Greg Gianforcaro. “The survivors who filed their claims today have shown great courage and strength and are seizing the opportunities given them by the New Jersey Legislature to seek accountability through the courts.”

The complaints identify two priests who have never been named publicly before:

  • Daniel Meehan is accused of allegedly sexually abusing a minor while he was assigned to Our Lady of Grace Church (Hoboken) in the 1960s.
  • Caesar Orrico is accused of allegedly sexually abusing a minor while he was assigned to the Church of the Assumption (Emerson) in the 1950s.

The three other complaints allege sexual abuse by Fr. Ernst, Fr. Morel and Fr. Capparelli over a period spanning from the 1960s to the 1980s.

“Capparelli, Ernst, and Morel were some of the worst serial pedophile priests in this state’s history,” said Gianforcaro. He noted that these priests were permitted to remain in active ministry for decades, despite being identified by the Archdiocese as having sexually abused multiple victims.

“Today these brave survivors are coming forward to break down the walls of concealment that the Archdiocese has been reinforcing with duplicity and deceit for decades,” said attorney Jeff Anderson. “We stand with all survivors in the continuing pursuit of justice, healing, and the protection of children.”