A new lawsuit alleges that the late archbishop of Newark groomed and molested a five year-old girl during his tenure as archbishop.
The lawsuit, which was first reported on May 10 by NorthJersey.com, was filed by a woman identified as “Clara Doe.” Doe claimed that in 1976, she was molested numerous times in the bedroom of Archbishop Peter Leo Gerety in the church rectory.
Doe said that Gerety befriended her family shortly after he was appointed as archbishop of Newark in 1974. She said that Gerety would bring food to her family, and would babysit her while her mother was at work.
It was during several of those babysitting sessions, she said, that Gerety exposed himself to her, masturbated, and sexually molested her.
The lawsuit, which was filed in March in the Essex County Superior Court, seeks $50 million in damages.
“As a child, I misguidedly thought that God had specifically sent Archbishop Gerety to my Mom and family to rescue us and help us get food to eat. I felt I had no option other than to do as Archbishop Gerety instructed,” Doe said in a signed affidavit.
A spokesperson for the Archdiocese of Newark told CNA on Wednesday, “It would be inappropriate to discuss or comment on matters in litigation, but it is important to note that the Archdiocese of Newark remains fully committed to transparency and to our long-standing programs to protect the faithful and will continue to work with victims, their legal representatives and law enforcement authorities in an ongoing effort to resolve allegations and bring closure to victims.”
Doe said that she told her sister about the alleged abuse eight years later, when she was 13 years old.
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