Delaware attorney writes book on priest abuse cases

After eight years and more than 100 clients who accused the Catholic church of sexual abuse, Tom Neuberger has written a book about his cases and some of the lessons learned.

Last December, 14 victims of sexual abuse reached a $7 million settlement with St. Edmonds Academy, the Capuchin friars, and the Brothers of the Holy Cross.  In February 2011, the Catholic Diocese of Wilmington reached a $77 million settlement with 146 abuse victims.  Nearly 100 of those victims were represented by Neuberger.  

Neuberger details the court battles and the long-lasting impact of abuse in his 427-page book, When Priests Become Predators: Profiles of Childhood Sexual Abuse Survivors.  “We’ve got testimony from mothers about how they were tricked, wives [describing] what it’s like living with people who have two personalities,” Neuberger says.  The book describes the testimony of victims on the stand in somewhat graphic detail.

He says the book is a testament to the bravery of the victims in coming forward.  “You see what courage it took for survivors to step up and want to seek justice and tell the truth.”  

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Neuberger’s seen a major change for the better in some of his former clients since the cases were settled.  “They’ve started new chapters of their lives, and their lives are improving, so that’s been very encouraging to me because for eight years I just lived with the misery of the whole thing.”

The court cases against the Catholic Diocese of Wilmington were made possible by legislation approved by the General Assembly that allowed the statute of limitations to be suspended for abuse cases.  Neuberger hopes the book provides support for victims in other states to keep advocating for a similar window to be approved where they live.  “In Pennsylvania they’re trying to get a window passed, and New Jersey is on the cusp of it, it could in New Jersey within the next six months,” says Neuberger.  “A book like mine I hope will encourage the survivors in those states to keep working for justice and show that people can achieve it because of what happened here in Delaware.”

Neuberger will be signing copies of his book Thursday night (10/18) at the Ninth Street Book Shop in downtown Wilmington from 5 to 7 p.m.


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