NEWARK, N. J. – New Jersey’s five Roman Catholic dioceses listed more than 180 priests Wednesday that credibly accused of sexual abuse of minors over a period of several decades, the joining of more than two dozen other states that are referred to as suspected abusers in the wake of a landmark, the grand jury report in Pennsylvania last year.
The lists, released Wednesday, identified priests and deacons in the diocese of Camden, Trenton, Metuchen and Paterson and the archdiocese of Newark. A lot of priests on the lists have died, and others have been removed from the ministry.
Cardinal Joseph Tobin, archbishop of Newark, who listed 63 former priests, said in a statement that he hoped that the publication will bring healing to those whose lives have been so deeply violated.”
The diocese of Camden listed 56 priests and a deacon; Trenton, the diocese appointed 30 priests; the Paterson diocese, mentioned, 28; and the diocese of Metuchen called nine plus two others that are currently the subject of social research.
Attorney-General Gurbir Grewal formed a task force in the autumn for running a criminal investigation into sexual abuse by priests in the state, shortly after the Pennsylvania grand jury report found that there are more than 300 predator priests and more than 1,000 victims in that state.
“While this is a positive first step in the direction of transparency and accountability, I hope that this spirit of openness continues throughout the course of our research, and in response to our requests for documents and information,” Grewal said in a statement Wednesday.
Newark is the list with Theodore McCarrick, a former Newark archbishop who served as the Washington, D. C., archbishop from 2000 to 2006. McCarrick was removed from public ministry in June.
The lists were released by the diocese does not include details about specific allegations or when they are claimed to have happened; on the contrary, all of the details of the named priests, and the crimes which they are accused to come from the pleadings or the previously published reports.
Several priests who served in the Newark archdiocese accused of the killing of the boys as part of their volunteer work with Boy Scout troops, according to published reports. Others named in the release were arrested, convicted or pleaded guilty and were returned to service after probation or treatment, according to court records and published reports.
Carmen Sita changed his name to Gerald Howard after being sentenced to a period of probation and receive a treatment and started as a priest in the Jefferson City, Missouri diocese where he was assigned to a parish connected to a school. Later he was accused of abusing boys and was sentenced for a second time. The Missouri diocese reported Howard is currently locked.
Former priest Richard Mieliwocki, who was sentenced to probation, disappeared after the start of the guidance, and resurfaced when he was accused of the killing of the teenagers as a counselor in a patient’s substance abuse program.
Another priest, called Wednesday, Manuel Gallo Espinoza was indicted by a grand jury in 2016, after the authorisation to have at least one accusation of abuse. He fled to Ecuador, and a warrant issued for his arrest.
The lists do not contain any religious order of priests, like the Jesuits, who may serve in a parish or schools, but are not ordained by the diocese. One of the victims compensation fund announced this week in New Jersey also won’t cover claims against religious order priests.
Mitchell Garabedian, a lawyer who represented alleged victims in New Jersey, said that the release of names is not sufficient.
“Given the large number of priests named as sexual abusers and the period in which the sexual abuse has taken place, it is fair to mention that the Archdiocese and the Dioceses in New Jersey have forgotten how to be moral and friendly with children,” he said in a statement.
Almost 2,000 suspected clergy and others nationwide have been established since and including the Pennsylvania grand jury report, an investigation by The Associated Press found.
Lauer reported from Philadelphia. Associated Press writer Mike Catalini in Trenton contributed to this report.