February 03, 2005

Paterson Diocese rules priest molested boy


Thursday, February 3, 2005


The Paterson Diocese has determined that one of its priests molested a Fair Lawn boy in the 1960s and should be removed from public ministry, a spokeswoman said Wednesday.

The ruling brings to a conclusion the first church trial held in North Jersey as a result of the clergy abuse scandal of 2002.

A panel of three priests found that the Rev. James A.D. Smith was "guilty of at least one act of sexual abuse of a minor," spokeswoman Marianna Thompson said in a statement.

Smith, in his 70s, is barred from celebrating the sacraments of the church, including communion.

"The penalty shall be permanent suspension of Rev. Smith's faculties as a priest," the statement said. "He may no longer represent himself as a priest or exercise any of the authorities or duties of ecclesiastical office."

Smith, who served in several parishes, including Sacred Heart in Clifton and Our Lady of Victories in Paterson, is expected to appeal the decision to Rome.

Posted by kshaw at February 3, 2005 09:18 AM