July 12, 2005

Diocese Removes Priest Accused of Sexually Abusing a Child

The New York Times

Published: July 12, 2005

NEWARK, July 11 - A Roman Catholic priest was removed from his church over the weekend in response to an accusation that he sexually abused a child 18 years ago.

The Diocese of Metuchen took the action against the Rev. John Casey, the pastor of St. Joseph Parish in North Plainfield, after an internal investigation. The bishop of Metuchen, Paul G. Bootkoski, announced the news on Saturday night in a letter he read to members of the church, in a community southwest of Newark.

"Perhaps the most difficult thing I have been called upon to do as your bishop is to inform a parish that its pastor has been accused of wrongful conduct," the bishop began.

Father Casey could not be reached for comment, but the bishop's letter indicated that he had denied the accusation.

Church officials said that the diocese first learned of the allegation in December and immediately contacted law enforcement authorities. But because the statute of limitations had expired, church officials said, prosecutors would not look into the case, leaving it up to the church to investigate. A board made up of church officials and child abuse experts interviewed Father Casey, the accuser and several others and concluded that Father Casey might have abused the child. "The charges are not without merit," the bishop wrote.

Posted by kshaw at July 12, 2005 06:31 AM