Abuse reported to have occurred in church, family homes and during trips to Poconos
Fios 1 New Jersey reports that five men and one woman have stepped forward claiming they were sexually abused as kids by Father Michael “Mitch” Walters at churches in Upper Montclair and Guttenburg – where he was a priest in the 80s and 90s.
The allegations come after a year-and-a-half investigation by the organization Road to Recovery, which aids sexual abuse victims. Co-founder Robert Hoatson says he believes there are many more victims who have yet to step forward.
“We’re talking about fondling and we’re talking about some pretty horrific things,” Hoatson said. “Evidently, the rectory here was kind of a club house that Father Mitch ran so he would invite kids over and then things would happen.”
“During the period of sexual abuse, Father Michael Walters was assigned to Saint Cassian’s Church in Upper Montclair, New Jersey and Saint John Neposmem Church in Guttenberg, New Jersey. The sexual abuse took place within Saint Cassian Church, family homes in New Jersey and on trips to the Poconos,” said Mitchell Garabedian, attorney for all 6 alleged victims.
The Roman Catholic Church are the major lobbyist against the Child Victims Act in New York and many other states. The Child Victims Act allows people who abuse children, as it is alleged the priest above did, to be prosecuted, or held liable in civil court. That’s important because although research shows that it takes the average survivor more than 21 years to disclose sexual abuse, we cut off any right to justice at 5 years.
It also means that organizations, like the Roman Catholic Church, who have a long history of covering up these sexual crimes by their priests. Preferring instead to reassign them to new roles where they inevitably abuse more children.
But there is a more important reason why statutes of limitations need to be banished.
This bill is important because unless child molesters and rapists, unless identified, continue to practice their debauchery well into their old age. Research shows that one abuser will rape or molest up to 120 children in their lifetime. Children who have been sexually abused take an average of 21 years to overcome the shame and disclose their abuse. But statutes of limitations in New York and many other states protect the abuser after only five years.
So do the math. This is why 9 out of 10 child sex abusers are still on the streets. This is why all our children are at risk. This is why you need to take action now to eliminate statutes of limitations on these crimes.
Then our children can sleep peacefully in their beds at night, and so can we.