Catholic Dioceses in New Jersey Release Names of 188 Priests and Deacons Accused of Sexually Abusing Children

New Jersey’s Roman Catholic dioceses Wednesday released the names of 188 priests and deacons who have been credibly accused of sexually abusing children over decades – the result of an internal review that was spurred by law enforcement officials launching their own investigation.

The Newark Archdiocese’s list had a total of 63 names that included 33 priests who are deceased. Some of the priests had one victim but 33 had multiple victims. Eight of the living priests, who all abused more than one person, have been defrocked.

The Paterson Diocese put up a list of 28 clerics shortly after noon, when the state’s other dioceses also posted their own lists – Camden with 57 names, Trenton with 30 and Metuchen with 11.

Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, the highest-ranking American Catholic official to have been removed from ministry, was the most prominent name in the Newark list. Pope Francis had accepted his resignation last year.

The Archdiocese said on the website that he was included “based on the findings of the Archdiocese of New York that allegations of abuse of a minor against then Father McCarrick were credible and substantiated.”

McCarrick was a former leader of the Metuchen diocese and the archdioceses in Newark and Washington, D.C. Church leaders in New Jersey acknowledged last year that the cardinal had been accused of sexual abuse by three adults in the state, and that two of the cases had resulted in confidential legal settlements.

Cardinal Joseph Tobin, head of the Newark Archdiocese, wrote a letter to Catholics across the region Wednesday saying that the publishing of the names was part of “an effort to do what is right and just.” He said the list was compiled during an “extensive review” of records dating to 1940.

None of the priests are currently in ministry, and all had been reported to law enforcement, he wrote.

“It is our sincerest hope that this disclosure will help bring healing to those whose lives have been so deeply violated,” he wrote in the letter, which was posted on the Archdiocese website. “We also pray that this can serve as an initial step in our efforts to help restore your trust in the leadership of the Catholic Church.”

One of the names in the Newark Archdiocese was a surprise because the archdiocese had not announced his status until Wednesday.

The Rev. Gerald Sudol, who had abused multiple victims, was listed as being permanently removed from ministry. He had been cleared of a prior allegation, but he stepped down last year from his position as reverend in residence at Our Lady of Czestochowa Catholic Church in Jersey City after an accuser came forward.

Shortly after the archdiocese acknowledged it was looking into the allegation, a new accuser came forward.

Ed Hanratty, a native of Ridgefield Park, said that Sudol’s sexual misconduct was well-known among parishioners of the St. Francis of Assisi Church in Ridgefield Park, where the priest served from 1986 to 1994.

Hanratty, who was an altar server at the church, recalled Sudol giving him bearhugs, open-mouthed kisses and trying to force his tongue into his mouth.

“I don’t know why he was let back around children in the first place,” Hanratty said last year. “Of all the parishes in the archdiocese why was he sent to one with a school?”

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SOURCE: USA Today; North Jersey Record, Abbott Koloff

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