Exclusive: Bishop Of Camden Diocese Speaks About Church Sex Abuse Scandal

CAMDEN, N.J. (CBS) — Bishop Joseph Galante did not think the interview was a big deal.
“I’ve never felt that the media was an enemy,” smiled the Bishop of the Diocese of Camden.
But the hour he gave Eyewitness News Friday afternoon makes him the only church leader in the area to speak with the media since the latest grand jury report about priest sex abuse in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.
“I was very, very saddened and disappointed,” Bishop Galante said about the report.
Bishop Galante said the church needs to be as open as possible about its actions and accusations of abuse.
“If someone was removed for abuse, that’s announced publicly in our Diocesan paper and otherwise,” said Bishop Galante about any accusations of abuse the Diocese of Camden, which spans the six southern counties of New Jersey.

The Archdiocese of Philadelphia has suspended 29 priests since the release of the grand jury report.  The accusations date back more than a decade.  Bishop Galante said he thinks abuse is far less common these days.
“The overwhelming public revelations of this,” Galante said, “I’d be very surprised if there was anybody currently or recently being abused that would not come forward.”
Bishop Galante says there are no internal or external investigations now into accusations of abuse. And he says allegations that do come in date back to abuse that occurred decades ago.
“In New Jersey, the bishops have made an agreement with the attorney general’s office so that any allegation gets reported to the prosecuting attorney in each county,” said Galante.
Since he became Bishop of Camden in 2004, Galante said he has met with everyone who brings forward an allegation of abuse. He said the church and the Diocese are always striving to improve, but there is no way to make the church perfect.
“We do all that’s humanly possible. It can happen, nobody would deny that. But we try to do all that we can to be vigilant about that.”
The Diocese of Camden last removed a priest from ministry last March. Father Brendan Sullivan was removed from ministry for an accusation of abuse from 1981 at Assumption Parish in Camden County.

Reported by Oren Liebermann, CBS 3

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One Comment

  1. MIC HAEL says:

    Come On Bishop. . . U satill are covering up and playing word games and have lawyers that are paid too give run arounds instead of support to VICTIMS> > > >

    All Assembly And Senate Members:

    Trenton, New Jersey

    Senate Bill# S2405

    Assembly Bill# A3622

    The horrendous crime of Sexual Assault to a minor, is extremely real in our state of New Jersey. Over the last several years many advocates and supporters have come forward to address the injustice and constitutionality about laws that crime victims have had to unfairly face in New Jersey.

    The criminal law statute for sexual assault was changed in 1995. There is no criminal statute now and rightfully so, in New Jersey, for a victim from sexual assault, to file a criminal claim.

    However, just a few legislative sessions ago, Our New Jersey Government did away with another barrier sex crime victims have had in filing and prosecuting criminals that rape children. This was the amendment to a charity shield, called charitable immunity law, in New Jersey.

    This charity law was a bar for many claimants. However, a civil law statute expired for filing civil complaints, while waiting for that charity immunity law to be amended, like it was. With much angst to the fact that there has been no remedy in the ability to prosecute and punish certain known offenders within the Camden Diocese,

    I am a child sex crime victim that still has no legal representation in New Jersey, due to this statute in civil law under review. Attorneys wont file criminal complaints for me, because a civil complaints bar is still pending this legislation..

    To mention that the sex offenders that are not registered with the state, are also not removed from positions that endanger children. Also, there currently is still the inability to punish, rehabilitate or incarcerate these criminals, that statistically re-offend across the boarder. In addition, there is no legal authority to govern and/or enforce any civility over these criminals and institutions that have protected them.

    Please Help.

    These reported upon known offenders will be prosecuted and punished when the bars that have protected them, removed.

    While New Jersey has always been on the forefront for Child protection and advocacy, Our great state’s laws are missing a large target of criminals, that we as a governing body have the ability to resolve and amend these discrepancies, with this legislation.

    This is all so in the effort that our justice system and the agents available within it, are able to perform the civil service that sex crime victims should other wise expect from them and be entitled too.

    Thank you for voting this bill to the Budget and Appropriations Committee, a vote 9-0. If you have not voted for this bill yet or signed on to Co-Spenser, please join in. And when the bill comes to the Assembly and the Senate again, for the final vote, I hope you will have extended this invitation to colleges for voting in favor of this urgent and needed amendment to New Jersey Sex Crime Laws.

    Thank you,

Comments are closed.

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