Settlement Shows NJ Laws Are Archaic
By Mark Crawford
August 12, 2013
There are two parts of this settlement. One is the money. The other is the papers.
It’s easy and tempting to focus on the money. But that’s missing the point. The real significance here is in the deposition and the documents.
When New Jersey citizens and Catholics read Myers' 200 page newly-disclosed deposition – and this predator’s newly-disclosed personnel file - they may know more about Myers’ misdeeds in one Illinois case almost 20 years ago in Illinois than they do about any of Myers’ misdeeds in numerous New Jersey cases over the past 12 years.
Why? Because of New Jersey's archaic, predator friendly laws which prevent most New Jersey child sex abuse victims from being able to use the civil courts to expose and deter crimes and cover ups.
New Jersey’s outdated statutes have done an enormous service to corrupt men like Myers and an enormous disservice to wounded victims like me.
In Illinois, brave Andrew Ward could file an abuse case and take that case to court. And that possibility – top members of the Catholic hierarchy on trial, day after day, being grilled about their evil deeds – that possibility is what scared Peoria’s bishop into resolving this case and turning over these records.
That possibility, however, rarely exist for New Jersey child sex abuse victims.
And that helps explain why Myers is getting worse, not better, in child sex abuse and cover up cases. It’s why Myers felt confident he could put Fr. Michael Fugee quietly back on the job in a hospital even after promising prosecutors that he’d keep Fugee away from kids. It’s why Myers refuses to discipline Fr. Thomas Iwanowski who let a suspended and credibly accused child molesting cleric – Fr. Robert Chabak – live among unsuspecting parishioners. It’s why Myers did nothing to help state officials yank the teaching license of a suspended predator priest, Fr. John Capparelli. It’s why Myers kept silent about credible child sex abuse allegations against Fr. Daniel Medina until forced to acknowledge them after someone leaked a confidential internal church memo. We could go on and on and on. . .
Myers knows he can get by with these stunningly callous and careless deeds – thanks, in part, to New Jersey’s predator-friendly child sex abuse statutes.
So let’s be grateful today to Andrew Ward and his parents for their heroic struggle. And let’s be grateful that Illinois has decent laws that give child sex victims a fighting chance.
And let’s be hopeful that New Jersey lawmakers will soon fix New Jersey laws so victims here can use courts to shine a light on Myers’ corruption. By doing so, lawmakers will discourage Myers from acting with such utter disregard for the safety of children in the future.
And until legislators make this simple reform, the burden of better protecting New Jersey’s kids will continue to fall on those who know of or have suspicions about possible child sex crimes. We beg those individuals – inside and outside the Catholic church – to pick up the phone and call police today so that fewer kids will have to suffer like Andrew Ward.