Diocese of Paterson releases names of 28 priests accused of child sexual abuse

Feb 27 2019 | 01:11 AM

    BY ERIKA NORTON
    New Jersey’s Roman Catholic dioceses, including the Diocese of Paterson, have released the names of 188 priests and deacons who have been credibly accused of sexually abusing children over the span of several decades — several of which served in Sussex County.
    The names are the result of an internal review prompted by law enforcement investigations within New Jersey and dozens of other states, including the pivotal grand jury report in Pennsylvania last year.
    Most Reverend Arthur J. Serratelli, the bishop of Paterson, which listed 28 former priests and deacons, said in a statement that he hoped the disclosure “will promote healing for all victims.”
    According to the list, 16 — over half of the priests and deacons listed — had multiple victims. Twelve of the priests accused are still alive.
    Out of the 28 listed, 12 of the priests and deacons served in Sussex County at some point.
    “Misconduct by those ordained as ministers of our faith can never be tolerated,” Serratelli said in his statement. “The faithful of our diocese have a right to know that the diocese is doing everything it can to ensure the safety of our children and to report perpetrators to law enforcement authorities.”
    None of the priests or deacons listed are serving within the Catholic Church, according to Serratelli, and all reports of sexual abuse they have received been transmitted to law enforcement authorities.
    Some of the names are reminders that the Catholic Church often failed to take strong action against accused priests before 2002, when it changed the way it handles reports of child sex abuse.
    In 2002, bishops established the “Dallas Charter,” a document which set guidelines for all dioceses in the United States. The guidelines included mandated criminal background checks, training and a code of conduct for employees.
    Prior to the charter, 24 priests and one deacon had been credibly accused of the sexual abuse of minors since the founding of the Peterson diocese in 1937, according to Serratelli. Since the charter in 2002, three priests from the Paterson diocese have been credibly accused of sexually abusing minors.
    “One case of a child being abused is one too many,” Serratelli said. “In the name of the Church, I am profoundly sorry that even one priest or deacon abused one minor. I apologize to every single victim.”
    As additional information is gathered and accused individuals are afforded due process, more individuals may be added to this list, according to the Paterson diocese, and those names will be published as well.
    The parishes where accused priests and deacons served in Sussex County are; Our Lady of the Lake in Sparta, St. Thomas in Ogdensburg, Immaculate Conception in Franklin, Our Lady of Fatima in Highland Lakes, Our Lady Star of the Sea in Lake Hopatcong, Pope John High School in Sparta, St. Monica in Sussex, Our Lady of Mt. Carmel in Swartswood, Our Lady Queen of Peace in Branchville, and Blessed Kateri in Sparta.
    Camden’s diocese listed 57 names of priests and deacons credibly accused of child sex abuse; Trenton’s diocese named 30 priests; the Paterson diocese listed 28; and the Metuchen diocese named nine plus two others who are currently the subject of civil investigations.
    Any person who was the victim of sexual abuse by a Diocese of Paterson priest, deacon, teacher or employee, is asked to contact the Attorney General's Hotline at 855-363-6548 and/or the Paterson Diocese at (973) 777-8818 to report the name of the individual who you believe has engaged in the illegal sexual abuse of a minor, regardless of whether the individual is still working for the diocese.