Tag: BishopAccountability.org

Diocese of Camden sexual abuse lawsuit

Is the Camden Diocese Worse Than Others When it Comes to Clergy Sex Crimes?

Is it just our impression or does the Camden Catholic diocese have a greater problem with clergy sex crimes and cover ups than most dioceses?

That’s of course hard to determine and fundamentally unfair.

The phrase “more than most” is vague, especially given that there are about 180 Catholic dioceses across the United States.

A better metric to consider is this: How does the rate of clergy sex abuse in the Diocese of Camden compare to dioceses of about the same size?

And using this scale, indeed, our hunch that there are more child molesting clerics in Camden than other places seems to be right.

According to BishopAccountability.org and Catholic-Hierarchy.org, the Camden diocese has a Catholic population of 458,000.

So Camden is just a little BIGGER than the San Francisco archdiocese (425,000 Catholics), the Paterson NJ diocese (420,000 Catholics), the Rockford IL diocese (420,000 Catholics) and

Camden has 68 publicly accused predators.

But San Francisco has only 37 publicly accused predators.

Paterson has only 41 publicly accused predators.

Camden’s a little SMALLER than the Las Vegas diocese (544,519 Catholics), the Oakland diocese (520,301 Catholics, the Sacramento diocese (520,301), and the Cincinnati archdiocese (512,146).

But Las Vegas has only eight alleged predators.

Oakland has 44 alleged predators.

Sacramento has only 49 alleged predators.

Cincinnati has only 50 alleged predators.


So based solely on the statistics, Catholics and citizens in the Camden area have, sadly, experienced more clergy sex crimes than in dioceses of roughly the same size.

What makes this especially sad, however, is that it shouldn’t be like this.

Way back in 1993, Camden Catholic officials got one of the earliest and most dramatic ‘wake up’ calls about this crisis.

That year, a man named Gary Hayes filed a groundbreaking lawsuit charging that he was sexually violated as a child by two clerics: Fr. Joseph F. McGarvey of Camden and Fr. William C. O’Connell of Rhode Island.


The case groundbreaking in two ways.

First, Hayes was from the Camden diocese and was abused in the Camden diocese. When he sued, he was also a Catholic priest.

Hayes thus became the first US Catholic cleric to essentially sue his boss for ignoring and concealing abuse.


Second, Hayes’ lawsuit was the first in the US to cite RICO statutes. This is a law designed to help pursue justice against organized crime figures.

In a moving news conference, Hayes opened his remarks with this chilling phrase: “Today, I’m seeking justice in the courts because I can find no justice in my church.”

As one would expect, the case attracted considerable nation-wide coverage. And it should have given Camden’s church hierarchy ample opportunity and incentive to really work hard to stop child sex crimes and cover ups.


But we at Horowitz Law see no evidence that this was done. And the numbers seem to bear out our view.

So what can be done about this?

Well, for starters, we’re urging anyone in Camden who saw, suspected or suffered abuse to come forward and get help. This is especially important since there’s a June 30, 2021 deadline to seek help under the diocese’s bankruptcy plan.

After that deadline, it’s still possible for victims to win justice and expose predators. But it’s considerably tougher.

And if you know of others who grew up Catholic in the Camden area, ask them if they were sexually violated in any way by any Camden church employee. Then please spread the word about this deadline and ask them to do likewise.

We want every single person who saw, suspected or suffered child sex crimes and cover ups in Camden to at least consider taking advantage of this opportunity.

(McGarvey worked in these New Jersey towns: Camden, East Camden, Pennsauken, Gloucester, Woodstown, Elmer and Millville. In 1994, he pled guilty to sexual assault and making child porn. One lawsuit involving McGarvey was settled for $384,000 and another in the high five figures.)


(O’Connell worked in these Rhode Island towns: Wakefield, Matanuck, Riverside, Warwick, Providence, Central Falls, North Tiverton, Bristol and Hog Island. He was also a Navy chaplain.

In 1986, O’Connell pleaded no contest to sex assaults on about a dozen boys and was sentenced to five years in prison.


Contact us today Regarding Your Claim Against the Camden Diocese.

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Diocese of Camden in New Jersey.  If you need a lawyer because you were sexually abused by a priest in New Jersey, contact our office today. In October 2020, the Camden Diocese filed for federal bankruptcy protection.  The Court will resolve all claims of sexual abuse in this process but a strict filing deadline of June 30 will apply and no late claims will be considered, so contact us today.  Our lawyers have decades of experience representing survivors of clergy sexual abuse in New Jersey and nationwide. We can help.

Contact us at (888) 283-9922 or adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com to discuss your options today.


florida clergy abuse sexual

Why You Should Care About These Men Who Came to Florida

Bear with us a bit and we’ll tell you who these guys are and why you should know about them.

Hugh Behan left Jefferson City MO, coming to Orlando. So did Martin McCamley who was from Altoona PA. Walter Coleman was in Bridgeport CT but moved to Miami. So did George Zirwas of Pittsburgh PA. Robert J. Brague left Scranton PA for Naples. Richard J. Giuliani left Allentown PA for St. Augustine.

Some moved multiple times. John J. Whiteley of St. Louis MO moved Venice and then Miami. Thomas J. Benestad left Allentown PA and moved to Boca Raton and then Palm Beach.

Timothy Sperber left Harrisburg PA, moving to Plantation, Pembroke Pines, Miami, Venice and Punta Gorda. And Robert E. Spangenberg moved even more – from Pennsylvania, Illinois, Michigan, North Carolina and South Carolina before ending up in Sarasota.

Similarly, John (Jerry) Kucan was in four Pennsylvania towns (Sharon, Bethlehem, Steelton and Beaver Falls), two Wisconsin towns in Wisconsin and two Illinois towns before finding his way to the Sunshine State.

Not to be outdone, however, is Roger A. Sinclair who also spent time in four Pennsylvania towns (Connellsville, Latrobe, Uniontown and Kittanning) then joined the military and moved to California, Kansas, Virginia, Massachusetts, Oregon and ultimately Florida.

Finally, there are other men who – like Kucan and Sinclair- who moved south to unknown Florida towns: John Phillip Schanz (from Erie PA), Stanley M. Gana (from Philadelphia), Roger J. Trott (from Greensburg PA), and Ferdinand B. Demsher and Bernard J. Kaczmarczyk (both from Pittsburgh).

Who are these guys?

Each one is a proven, admitted or credibly accused child molesting Catholic cleric.

And here’s where this gets interesting:

We learned ALL of this from secular sources (mainstream media accounts and law enforcement reports.)

We learned NONE of this from Catholic officials.

“How can this be?” you might ask. “All US bishops have long promised to be ‘open and transparent’ about abuse. In fact, in 2002, they all signed on to a supposedly-binding national ‘charter’ that mandates this kind of disclosure. And many of them have posted predators’ names and assignments on their websites. How come these transfers and moves can still be kept hidden?”

The answer: making promises and keeping promises are not the same.

“Well, who are these ‘secular sources’ you cite and how reliable are they?” you might ask.

They are all publicly-available reports issued in recent years by law enforcement officials and/or a credible, Massachusetts-based non-profit called BishopAccountability.org, which bases its information on court records and mainstream media accounts. (Please check out their outstanding website. And look for the tab on the left hand side of their home page called “Grand Jury and Other Reports.”)

“Wait,” you might ask “Were these child molesters SENT here by bishops or did they move here on their own?”

Some of both. But here’s OUR question: “Does that matter? Almost two decades ago, bishops said they’d start being more honest and forthcoming about predator priests. Don’t they have a moral and civic duty to warn parents, police, prosecutors, parishioners and the public about potentially dangerous men in their jurisdictions, no matter how they got there?”

And one final question: “Who’s responsible for this continued and reckless secrecy and what can be done about it?”

Those answers will come soon in another blog. So please check back with us soon.