October 17, 2005

Defrocked priest performs baptism

Philadelphia Inquirer

By Kera Ritter
Inquirer Staff Writer

A former priest accused of sexually abusing more than a dozen girls while serving in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia performed a baptism in Haddonfield in the summer, weeks after he had been defrocked.

Camden diocesan officials confirmed yesterday that Nicholas V. Cudemo performed the baptism July 10 at Christ the King Church at a family's request.

The Rev. Joseph D. Wallace said he was unaware Cudemo had been laicized, meaning he was no longer a priest, until a church deacon saw the name in the baptism registry a week later and alerted him.

Tom Hafner, the deacon, recognized the name because his brother-in-law had been assigned with Cudemo in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

"It's an unfortunate incident," Wallace said. "He was in and out of the church in half an hour. He wasn't around any other parishioners or children."

Wallace made an announcement about the incident during church service yesterday, calling the priest "one of the offenders, and one of the worst ones, to be honest." Wallace did not identify the priest by name during service but confirmed it was Cudemo afterward.

Posted by kshaw at October 17, 2005 08:11 AM