Archdiocese of Newark releases names of 63 New Jersey clerics accused of sexual abuse

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — The Archdiocese of Newark released a list Wednesday of 63 Roman Catholic clergy members it said have been credibly accused of sexually abusing minors dating to 1940.

Cardinal Joseph Tobin, the archbishop, said in a statement that he hoped the disclosure “will help bring healing to those whose lives have been so deeply violated.”

New Jersey’s attorney general formed a task force in the fall to conduct a criminal investigation into sexual abuse by clergy in the state. It is one of more than two dozen states where dioceses have released the names of abusive clergy members since a Pennsylvania grand jury report in August identified over 300 predator priests.

Newark’s list includes Theodore McCarrick, a former Newark archbishop who served as Washington, D.C., archbishop from 2000 to 2006. McCarrick was removed from public ministry in June.

New Jersey’s four other dioceses are expected to release names this week of clergy members suspected of abusing minors.

All the clerics on the Newark list are described as deceased or having been removed from ministry, and about half have been named in previous news reports. About half are believed to be responsible for multiple victims.

Several have been accused of molesting 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 probation and receiving treatment and began serving as a priest in the Jefferson City, Missouri, the diocese where he was assigned to a parish attached to a school. He was later accused of abusing teenage boys and was convicted a second time. The Missouri diocese reported Howard is currently incarcerated.

Former priest Richard Mieliwocki, who was convicted and sentenced to probation, disappeared after starting counseling and resurfaced when he was accused of molesting teenagers as a counselor in an in-patient substance abuse program.

Another priest named Wednesday, Manuel Gallo Espinoza was indicted by a grand jury in 2016 after admitting to at least one allegation of abuse. He fled to Ecuador, and a warrant was issued for his arrest.

Accounts about priests named Wednesday come from previously published reports since the Newark list doesn’t include details about the allegations or when they are alleged to have happened.

The list also doesn’t include religious order priests, such as Jesuits, who may serve in parishes or schools but are not ordained by the diocese. A victims’ compensation fund announced this week in New Jersey also won’t cover claims against religious order priests.

Mitchell Garabedian, an attorney who has represented alleged victims in New Jersey, said the release of names isn’t enough.

“Given the vast number of priests named as sexual abusers and the span of time in which the sexual abuse took place, it is fair to state that the Archdiocese and Dioceses in New Jersey have forgotten how to be moral and kind with children,” he said in a statement.

Nearly 2,000 accused clergy members and others nationwide have been identified since and including the Pennsylvania grand jury report, a review by The Associated Press found.

Categories: Crime, National News