The proposed legislation is due to go before the Senate judiciary committee March 7. If approved, the change in law would apply to all sex abuse cases, not just those involving the Catholic Church. The Diocese of Trenton released the names of 30 clergymen Feb. 13 who had been “credibly accused” of sexually abusing minors, part of an attempt at transparency at a time when state law enforcement is probing sexual misconduct at dioceses across New Jersey. “Our first responsibility must always be to those who have endured sexual abuse as minors and the release of these names is our effort to express acceptance of their allegations as credible and to indicate the status of their alleged abusers,” Bishop David M. O’Connell said in a message posted on the Diocese of Trenton website. The 30 men – 28 priests and two deacons – served at churches and schools across a diocese that spans Mercer, Ocean, Burlington and Monmouth counties. Of that total, 17 of them are dead and 13 have been removed from the ministry, according to the diocese. “While this is a positive first step towards transparency and accountability, I hope this spirit of openness continues during the course of our ongoing investigation and in response to our requests for records and information,” he said. “Despite the recent actions by the dioceses, our investigation remains ongoing because no institution or individual is immune from accountability.” Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal said in a statement Feb. 13 that he was “pleased to see that our task force’s grand jury investigation has prompted the dioceses to finally take some measures to hold predator priests accountable.” “As a policy, and in an effort to protect and respect the privacy and well-being of victims, the Diocese of Trenton will not disclose further details about any of the specific allegations that led to a cleric’s inclusion in the published list of names,” diocese spokeswoman Rayanne Bennett said by email Feb. 25. This list of churches and schools where the 30 men served ran the gamut, from those in Red Bank to Rumson to Holmdel, among other places. Representatives of area churches directed questions to the diocese or did not return phone calls seeking comment. All five dioceses in New Jersey published the names of 188 clergymen who had been credibly accused of sexually abusing a minor. The timing of that action came roughly six months after New Jersey’s highest-ranking law enforcement official formed a task force in September to probe alleged sexual abuse by Catholic clergy around the state and attempts to cover up the crimes. In addition to providing their names and when they were born, the diocese listed the year each man was ordained and where he served. The list showed 19 of the 30 clergymen had multiple victims, although there was no information released about when or where the incidents occurred. “All allegations of the sexual abuse of a minor by clergy were reported to law enforcement upon the Diocese’s having received the complaint as per our memorandum of understanding with the prosecutors and the State Attorney General in 2002,” Bennett said.“Also, since 2002, parishes are notified when a priest is removed because of a credible allegation of the sexual abuse of a minor, and many of these already published in diocesan and secular media reports.” This comes as state lawmakers in NewJersey are looking to extend the statute oflimitations for victims of sexual abuse to filecivil lawsuits. Among other provisions of theproposed legislation, child victims would haveuntil they turn 55 years old to sue. “So that will be one option for survivors is to participate in that claims program,” said Ben Andreozzi, a Pennsylvania lawyer whose firm represents more than 100 victims of Catholic clergy abuse in New York, Pennsylvania and New Jersey, including those against the Diocese of Trenton. Access the full list on the Diocese of Trenton website at dioceseoftrenton.org/committed-to-healing. “The problem is not how to deal with it ecclesiastically. The problem is really how to deal with it civilly,” said Jo-Renee Formicola, a professor of political science at Seton Hall University and expert on church-state relations. “Should they be reporting what they consider to be sins to civil authorities as crimes? And the question is, is it their responsibility to report crimes or is it their responsibility only to deal with sin?” Catholic Church leaders in New Jersey also have formed a compensation fund for victims of church sex abuse that occurred when they were children. As part of accepting money from the fund, they must agree “not to engage in any further litigation against the particular Diocese,” according to one of the rules of the fund. This week, Grewal’s office declined to say if it intended to take legal action against any of the dioceses in New Jersey. But for the church, dealing with clerical sex abuse raises questions about their responsibility to government authority. “It is our hope that thepublic presentation of thesenames will contribute tohealing the awful woundsthat victims have endured atthe hands of some clergy.” “It’s a fairly natural thing and a common occurrence for them to bury these recollections, if only for self-preservation,” said state Sen. Declan J. O’ Scanlon Jr. (R-13), one of the sponsors of the Senate bill, in a phone interview with The Two River Times Feb. 25. “Their normal, natural self-preservation inclinations shouldn’t shield the predators from paying the price for their actions.” By Philip Sean Curran This list is limited to churches in the 13 Two Rivertowns of Monmouth County. Some priests served morethan one parish during their careers. This is a list of clergymen in the Diocese of Trentonwho have been credibly accused of the sexual abuse of aminor as of Feb. 22, 2019.