February 04, 2005

Paterson Diocese finds priest sexually abused teen


Friday, February 04, 2005
Star-Ledger Staff
A Paterson Diocese tribunal has determined that a priest molested a teenager in the 1960s and should be permanently suspended from priestly duties, but it did not recommend he be formally removed from the priesthood.

The diocese announced Wednesday that a judicial panel of three priests decided, after a closed church-run trial, that the Rev. James A.D. Smith was "guilty of at least one act of sexual abuse of a minor."

Bishop Arthur Serratelli has approved the penalty, a spokeswoman said.

Smith, 74, a diocesan priest for about 50 years, was accused of repeatedly molesting a teenager in the 1960s while he worked at Our Lady of Victories Church in Paterson.

Smith has long denied the charge and will appeal the verdict to the diocese judges and, if necessary, to the Vatican, diocese spokeswoman Marianna Thompson said.

Posted by kshaw at February 4, 2005 05:15 AM