Archbishop Peter Leo Gerety
Archdiocese of Newark
- 1939: St. John the Evangelist Church (New Haven, CT)
- 1940: Grace-New Haven Hospital (New Haven, CT)
- 1942: St. Brendan Church (New Haven, CT)
- 1956: St. Martin de Porres Parish (New Haven, CT)
- 1969–1974: Bishop of Portland
- 1974 to 1986: Archbishop of Newark
Summary of Sexual Abuse Allegations Against Archbishop Peter Leo Gerety:
Archbishop Peter Leo Gerety served for nearly three decades as a parish priest in Connecticut, New Jersey, and Portland, Maine. Gerety was appointed the third Archbishop of Newark in 1974, retired in 1986, and died in 2016 at the age of 104.
A new lawsuit was filed in March 2021 by a now 49-year-old woman against the Archdiocese of Newark, alleging sexual abuse by the late Gerety. According to media reports, the victim claims that in 1976, Archbishop Gerety sexually abused her multiple times when she was just five years old. Allegedly, Gerety befriended her family when they were parishioners at Sacred Heart Cathedral in Newark.
The archbishop would often bring food to the struggling family and volunteered to look after the 5-year-old when her mother was at work. The victim states that Gerety, the highest-ranking church official in New Jersey at that time, would take her back to his bedroom in the rectory, where he touched her sexually and masturbated in front of her on three or four different occasions. She claims he told her not to say anything to anyone because it will hurt her mother and that it was their little secret. She says that she thought he was sent from God.
Eventually, she began to resist being alone with the priest, and her aunt started watching her instead. The woman said she did not tell anyone about the alleged abuse until she was 13 when she confided in her sister. By the time she was in her 20s, the victim was suicidal and in therapy.
The Review Board offered the victim a $5,000 settlement, but she declined and filed a $50 million lawsuit in March declaring that Gerety’s abuse caused a lifetime of mental health issues.
Gerety, who died as the world’s oldest Catholic bishop at 104 in 2016, was named in numerous lawsuits for allegedly covering up or failing to remove priests in the Archdiocese of Newark who sexually abused children during his tenure.
Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Archdiocese of Newark If you need a lawyer because you were sexually abused by a priest in New Jersey, contact our office today. Although many years have passed, those abused by Catholic clergy in the Archdiocese of Newark now have legal options to recover damages due to a compensation fund created for victims.
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