A defrocked New Jersey priest convicted of molesting two underage boys has been tracked down in the Dominican Republic — where he’s teaching children, according to a report on Friday.
Hadmels DeFrias insisted that he’s no longer attracted to youngsters — though, in the same breath, he left open the possibility of feeling that way again one day.
“I don’t see the children with those eyes anymore,” DeFrias told NBC News, which found him in Punta Cana. “For me they are children and they need to be treated like children because that is what they are. I don’t feel the attraction. I am not telling you that maybe someday it won’t be there, because I can’t predict the future.”
DeFrias was a priest at St. Mary of the Assumption Church in Elizabeth when he fondled two brothers in 2001 and 2002, when they were both under 14. He was charged with criminal sexual conduct.
The boys did part-time clerical work at the Roman Catholic church.
DeFrias, who is a native of the Dominican Republic, pleaded guilty in 2004 and was sentenced to three years’ probation. As part of his conviction, he was barred from contact with children under 18 in New Jersey.
The disgraced church leader, 47, is now teaching English at the private Colegio del Caribe school and also claimed he is a bishop in the “progressive Celtic church.”
He spoke with NBC News in a wide-ranging interview while supervising dozens of youngsters and shielding himself from the sun under an umbrella.
DeFrias expressed regret over the abuse of the two boys — saying he’d been diagnosed with ephebophilia, a sexual attraction to adolescents.
“I never meant for it to happen,” he said.
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SOURCE: New York Post, Lia Eustachewich