Lawsuits Name Five Clerics Accused of Child Sexual Abuse, Fr. Thomas E. Carney & Fr. Thomas A. Campbell Named for First Time
(Trenton, NJ) – Today, attorneys from the law firms of Jeff Anderson & Associates and Gianforcaro Law filed five (5) child sexual abuse complaints against the Diocese of Trenton on behalf of five (5) survivors. The cases, brought under the New Jersey Child Sexual Abuse Act / New Jersey Victims’ Rights Bill (S.477), identify five (5) child abusers formerly assigned within the Diocese, including Fr. Thomas E. Carney and Fr. Thomas A. Campbell who have been named publicly for the first time as perpetrators of child sexual abuse.
“Under the New Jersey Victims’ Rights Bill, survivors are given the opportunity to reclaim some of the power that was stolen from them as children,” said attorney Greg Gianforcaro. “We are privileged to stand with these five survivors who had the courage to speak their truths and seek justice for the harms they suffered at the hands of their priests.”
Among the complaints, the following clerics have been identified:
- Fr. Thomas E. Carney, accused of sexually abusing one plaintiff from approximately 1968 to 1970 at Holy Angels (Trenton). This is the first time Fr. Carney has been publicly accused of child sexual abuse.
- Fr. Thomas A. Campbell, accused of sexually abusing one plaintiff from approximately 1958 to 1961 while assigned to St. Joseph (North Plainfield). This is the first time Fr. Campbell has been publicly accused of child sexual abuse.
- Fr. Augustine J. Griffin, C.S.Sp., accused of sexually abusing one plaintiff from approximately 1971 to 1972 while assigned to St. Raphael (Trenton). In 1998, Fr. Griffin received a 7-and-one-half year sentence for sexually abusing two young boys. Jeff Anderson & Associates filed another lawsuit implicating Fr. Griffin of abuse while assigned to a parish in the Diocese of Rockville Centre (NY).
- Fr. Joseph R. Punderson, accused of sexually abusing one plaintiff from approximately 1977 to 1979 while assigned to Christ the King (Manville). Fr. Punderson, who went on to become a senior official of the Vatican’s highest court, was removed from ministry in 2018, 15 years after he was found to be credibly accused of sexual abuse of a child. Fr. Punderson was included on the Diocese of Trenton’s list of clergy who have been credibly accused of the sexual abuse of a minor.
- Fr. John E. Sullivan, accused of sexually abusing one plaintiff from approximately 1967 to 1970 while assigned to Mary, Mother of God Church (Flagtown). Fr. Sullivan was the subject of multiple allegations of abuse and appeared on the Diocese of Trenton’s list of clergy who have been credibly accused of the sexual abuse of a minor.
In addition to these complaints, Gianforcaro and Anderson brought cases against the Diocese under the Child Sexual Abuse Act naming new and known predator priests in December 2019 and August 2020. To-date the firms have brought a total of 9 child sexual abuse complaints against the Diocese.
“These courageous survivors join hundreds of others across New Jersey,” said attorney Nahid Shaikh of Jeff Anderson & Associates. “Given this opportunity for justice and healing, their stories will ensure the protection of the children of the future. We are honored to stand with them.”