A new law that lifts the statute of limitations for adult survivors of child sex abuse in New Jersey went into effect Sunday — opening the floodgates for lawsuits against powerful institutions and predators.
Some of the first cases filed Monday include three suits against the Catholic Church that allege the religious institution knowingly hired perverted priests and allowed them “unfettered” access to vulnerable children, while keeping their proclivity for pedophilia a closely-held secret.
The three cases were filed by the Herman Law Firm under the new law that’s opened up a two-year window for civil claims brought by any survivor of child sex abuse, regardless of when the abuse occurred — similar to the Child Victims Act in New York.
The suits name three priests, three New Jersey dioceses, two churches and the Archdiocese of Brooklyn as defendants, alleging they failed to protect children who interacted with priests who were known to the church to be pedophiles.
In the first case, a plaintiff identified only by the initials “B.D.S” alleges he was sexually abused by the notorious serial pedophile Father Romano Ferraro when he was working in the Diocese of Metuchen and assigned to Our Lady of Mount Virgin Church in Middlesex, NJ, the lawsuit states.
B.D.S, who is a resident of New Jersey, alleges his abuse began “in or about” 1984-85 when he was around 11 or 12 years old.
Father Ferraro took an interest in him, “gave him special treatment,” and groomed his family to gain their trust by visiting their home with snacks and staying to watch TV and socialize, the suit alleges.
B.D.S, who was an altar boy at Our Lady, alleges he was waiting in the sacristy for his mom to pick him up one day after mass when he was alone with Ferraro — and the priest asked the boy to pull down his pants then sexually assaulted him by fondling his genitals, among other things, the records show.
The abuse continued over a three-year period, mostly at the boy’s home when Ferraro visited, and included an overnight trip with Ferraro where B.D.S. was sodomized by the priest, the suit alleges.
The lawsuit alleges the Diocese of Brooklyn, along with the Diocese of Metuchen and Our Lady, is responsible for B.D.S’s abuse because they knew of Ferraro’s history.
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SOURCE: New York Post, Gabrielle Fonrouge