Another New Jersey Catholic priest has been accused of sexual abuse for inappropriate contact with a teenage girl over thirty years ago. This time, it is the accused’s own admissions on a secret recording that will help determine his fate.
The accused priest, the former Youth Director at St. Cecelia’s parish in Iselin, allegedly engaged in sexual activity with a teenaged female parishioner at various locations, including New Jersey, Washington D.C., and Florida in the early 1990s. Most recently he served as a parochial vicar at St. Philip and St. James Catholic Church in Phillipsburg, and as a chaplain at the St. Luke Hospital campus in Warren. He served in these positions until his arrest earlier this year.
According to the filed criminal complaint, the priest began an inappropriate relationship with the 16-year old girl in 1990 while supervising her in the parish’s CCD program. He was 39 years old at the time. Various incidents of sexual abuse continued between 1990 and 1994.
The Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office filed criminal charges of one count of aggravated sexual assault in the first degree and two counts of sexual assault in the second degree against the priest in January.
A call into a recently established clergy sexual abuse hotline by the abuse survivor alerted authorities to the priest’s misconduct. Following its creation in September 2018 by State Attorney General Gurbir Grewal, the New Jersey Clergy Abuse Task Force instituted a 24-hour hotline to encourage sexual abuse survivors to report allegations of misconduct.
Over 350 calls have been made to the hotline already.
The abuse survivor agreed to record her abuser during a telephone conversation which was intercepted by law enforcement. In the recorded “consensual intercept,” the accused priest admitted to engaging in sexual conduct with the then-teenaged girl. Investigators revealed the priest also confirmed having intercourse with her on more than one occasion.
Healing from childhood sexual abuse is a lifelong process for survivors. The financial costs of medical treatments, medications, psychological counseling, and lost wages due to an inability to work can be overwhelming. By holding responsible the offending priests, their superiors, and the Catholic Church, which covered up these horrible acts, survivors can begin to move forward.
Filing a civil lawsuit is one way to hold wrongdoers accountable. An experienced New Jersey clergy abuse lawyer can help you navigate the complexities of these court proceedings.
At Williams Cedar our experienced New Jersey clergy abuse lawyers work with survivors of clergy sexual misconduct in helping them obtain compensation for the trauma they suffered. From our offices in Philadelphia and Haddonfield, New Jersey, we represent clients in Allentown, Scranton, Pittsburgh, Harrisburg, Greensburg, Johnstown, Eerie, Wilkes-Barre, and throughout Pennsylvania, South Jersey, and nationwide. Contact us online or call 215-557-0099 today to arrange a free and confidential consultation.