April 16, 2005

Retired priest accused of abuse


Saturday, April 16, 2005


As an employee of the Centers for Disease Control, Mike Iatesta sets up HIV/AIDS prevention programs worldwide. On Friday afternoon, the 42-year-old Westfield resident sought to thwart what he claimed was another evil.

During a press conference at the Prime Suites Hotel in Secaucus, Iatesta aired allegations that the Rev. Gerald Ruane, of the now-defunct Sacred Heart Institute of Healing at Caldwell College, had sexually abused him as a teenager and young adult.

"Gerald Ruane, a recently retired priest of the Archdiocese of Newark - parish priest, college professor, campus minister, chaplain, director of the Sacred Heart Institute of Healing and a national charismatic healer - is also a sex offender," Iatesta alleged from a podium, surrounded by pictures of himself as a child. "I was one of his victims."

Iatesta is the latest in a series of accusers to come forward with allegations of sexual abuse by area priests.

In February, the Diocese of Paterson settled a $5 million civil lawsuit with 26 alleged victims of priest sex abuse. Within the last two-and-a-half years, the Archdiocese of Newark and the Diocese of Metuchen also have settled clergy-abuse lawsuits for a combined total of close to $2 million. Together, the cases involved nearly two dozen accusers. The church did not admit guilt or wrongdoing in any of those settlements.

Posted by kshaw at April 16, 2005 07:34 AM