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Three Child Sexual Abuse Lawsuits Filed Against the Diocese of Paterson

Lawsuits allege abuse by three New Jersey priests

(Paterson, NJ) – Today the law firms of Jeff Anderson & Associates and Gianforcaro Law filed three (3) sexual abuse lawsuits on behalf of three courageous survivors against the Diocese of Paterson. The lawsuits, brought under the New Jersey Victims’ Rights Bill, publicly identify three known alleged perpetrators of child sexual abuse Fr. Thomas Rainforth, Fr. Francis Dennehy, and Fr. Ralph Sodano.

“Today’s filings tell the stories of three children who were forever changed because of the trauma they suffered under the Diocese’s watch—and today they are taking their power back,” said attorney Greg Gianforcaro. “Thanks to the courage of the survivors bringing suit today, the spotlight is fixed on the Diocese and these repeat alleged offenders.”

The cases identify three alleged (3) child abusers:

  • Fr. Thomas Rainforth is accused of allegedly sexually abusing a minor while assigned to St. George (Paterson) from approximately 1976 to 1978.
  • Fr. Francis Dennehy is accused of allegedly sexually abusing a minor while assigned to St. Nicholas (Passaic) from approximately 1964 to 1966.
  • Fr. Ralph Sodano is accused of allegedly sexually abusing a minor while assigned to Our Lady of Fatima and Pope Pius XII Diocesan High School in approximately 1972.

“The survivors who filed these claims chose to do so anonymously, which is a right every survivor has under the New Jersey Victims’ Rights Bill,” said attorney Jeff Anderson. “They have taken a remarkable step forward for themselves, for other survivors in the Diocese, and for children across New Jersey. We are proud to stand with them.”