Tag: Camden sexual abuse

Diocese of Camden Horowitz Law

Sex Abuse Claims Filing Deadline Set in Camden Diocese Bankruptcy

On Friday, February 12, 2021, the U.S. Bankruptcy Court set the deadline for filing all sexual abuse claims against the Diocese of Camden for June 30, 2021. The Diocese filed for Chapter 11 protection earlier this year to resolve all pending sex abuse claims against the Diocese with the bankruptcy court’s assistance. It cited revenue losses because of the millions it paid out to clergy abuse victims and the pandemic. They tried to get the deadline moved up to February but was denied. Camden’s Diocese has nearly 500,000 members across 62 parishes in southern New Jersey’s Atlantic, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Gloucester, and Salem counties.

Contrary to what you might think, a bankruptcy filing does not mean the Diocese is broke: it means the Diocese is asking for the Bankruptcy Court for help resolving the rest of the sexual abuse claims against it. Its assets will be allocated among all of its creditors, including an unknown number of sexual abuse claimants, known and unknown.

It is also a means by which a Catholic Diocese can continue to protect itself and its secrets. For that reason, it is often criticized by survivor advocates and attorneys. The Diocese of Camden will not likely have to publicize any priest personnel files as part of this process, for example.

The June 30 filing deadline is also referred to as a “bar date” in bankruptcy law. It is a strict, non-negotiable deadline by which all existing claims must be filed against the Diocese of Camden, or claimants will be forever barred from seeking relief in the future.

For survivors of sexual abuse by anyone employed by the Diocese of Camden such as a priest, teacher, sacristan, or lay volunteer, this likely means that even if New Jersey lawmakers extend the statute of limitations and otherwise allow you to file a lawsuit, your claim will barred by the bankruptcy bar date. That makes it critically important for anyone who a Camden Diocese employee victimized to contact competent counsel as soon as possible to discuss your options: the fact is that you probably won’t have any options after June 30, 2021.

While the exact class of persons who can file a claim in the bankruptcy is not yet defined, it is expected that those sexually assaulted by Diocese employees as an adult, as well as the estates of deceased victims, will be able to file claims.

The June 30th deadline is a strict filing deadline set by the Court and will not likely be extended by the Court for any reason.  Therefore, you should contact us immediately for a free and confidential consultation about your legal options as a survivor of abuse in the Camden Diocese.

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims of sexual abuse in the Diocese of Camden and throughout New Jersey.  The Diocese of Camden filed for federal bankruptcy protection in October 2020.  Anyone sexually abused by a priest or employee of the Diocese of Camden may be entitled to file a claim against the Diocese in these bankruptcy proceedings, but very strict filing deadlines have been set by the Bankruptcy Court.  Most victims of abuse in the Diocese of Camden will never be able to take against against the Diocese of Camden if they miss this bankruptcy filing deadline, so it is important that you contact us immediately to discuss your potential case.   Contact us at (888) 283-9922 or adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com to discuss your legal options today.

Camden Diocese sex abuse

Camden Diocese Becomes First New Jersey Catholic Diocese to File for Chapter 11 Protection

On Thursday, October 1, the Diocese of Camden in New Jersey quietly filed a federal petition for Chapter 11 bankruptcy seeking reorganization of their assets, the same day its counterpart in Rockville Centre (New York) did.  The move comes after the Diocese was hit with multiple sexual abuse lawsuits that the Diocese says it cannot afford to pay, even with insurance coverage.

The filing was announced in a letter written by Bishop Dennis Sullivan and released to the media on Thursday night.  According to the Bishop, the cost of the sexual abuse suits, combined with a loss of revenues due to COVID-19, makes it impossible to continue their business as usual.  In July, the Diocese it announced it was suspending its participation in a voluntary settlement fund established by the New Jersey Catholic Dioceses to resolve claims without the time and expense of litigation.

Last year, New Jersey lawmakers opened a 2 year “window” for survivors of sexual abuse to file lawsuits against the entities responsible, including the Diocese of Camden.

It is a common misconception that a Chapter 11 filing means an entity, like the Diocese of Camden, has run out of money, leaving sexual abuse claimants without any recourse.  But that is not true.  The claim is simply decided in an alternative process run by the federal bankruptcy court, rather than by a jury trial in a state court.  The amounts paid to survivors in a bankruptcy filing are often much less than in a traditional court case, however.

The Camden Diocese bankruptcy filing is not without its critics, and rightfully so.  Horowitz Law represents survivors of sexual abuse by clergy of the Diocese of Camden.  Attorney Adam Horowitz said, “Bankruptcy is the latest ploy by the Catholic Church to reduce its legal exposure for covering up clergy sexual abuse nationwide.  In a bankruptcy proceeding the Church can also conceal evidence of its neglect in the handling of sexually abusive priests.”

Another advantage to the Diocese is the right to be free of additional sexual abuse litigation indefinitely once the case closes.  Once a claims filing deadline has been set by the court, that will be the very last chance most survivors of clergy sexual abuse and exploitation will ever have to get some measure of accountability for what happened to them.  After that date passes, the Diocese will not be subject to liability for any additional claims that arose before the bankruptcy filing, even if other laws would otherwise a lawsuit to be filed, like a change in the statute of limitations.  So it is critically important that you not delay in contacting us today if you think you have a claim.

Horowitz Law has filed numerous sexual misconduct claims on behalf of children who were sexually abused by clergy of all religious denominations, including Chapter 11 bankruptcy claims.  If you or someone you know was sexually abused by a clergy member or employee of the Diocese of Camden, please contact our law firm at (888) 283-9922 or send an e-mail to sexual abuse lawyer Adam Horowitz at adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com for a free consultation.

Brother Walter Hicks – Diocese of Camden

Brother Walter Hicks (Brothers of Charity)

Diocese of Camden

Walter Hicks Horowitz Law

Ordained: Unknown

Left Order: Unknown

Died: Unknown

Assigned as follows:

  • St. Peter’s Church (Pleasantville, NJ)

Summary of Abuse Allegations against Brother Walter Hicks:

Brother Walter Hicks was a member of the Brothers of Charity religious order. According to media reports, in December 2019, a man filed a lawsuit under New Jersey’s new Victim’s Rights Bill against the Diocese of Camden and the Brothers of Charity alleging that he was sexually abused as a minor by Brother Walter Hicks. The alleged abuse occurred when the man was about 7 to 9 years old from approximately 1978 to 1980 at St. Peter’s Church in Pleasantville, New Jersey.  

The man told reporters, “When I would tell my family that I didn’t want to go to school and I was afraid of my abuser — I didn’t know the words to say, ‘I am being sexually violated by an adult.’ … Those words, a child doesn’t know.”

Regarding his decision to come forward, he said “I’ve tried for years to bring accountability, bring attention to this crime and neglect and cover-up and I can’t do it alone. I can’t do it without attorneys helping me,” he continued. “I’ve tried. I’ve asked the brothers to help. I’ve asked the diocese to help. I’ve asked their coordinators to help. And I’m still here waiting for them to be accountable.”

Brother Hicks’ name has never appeared on any diocesan list of credibly accused clergy because he was not a cleric, but a member of a religious order. He is believed to have left the Brothers of Charity and became a therapist counseling victims of sexual abuse. He is deceased.

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 strict filing deadlines 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.