February 04, 2006

Church officials wash their hands of ex-priest Hanley

Daily Record

The former priest never was charged with a crime, never went to prison. But he admits to sexually abusing children. He made that admission again this past week, this time in front of television cameras. He faced some of his victims and apologized. He faced other victims and lashed out in anger.

James Hanley, a former Mendham pastor, is not subject to Megan's Law. He is not subject to the orders of any bishop. He agreed to be removed from the priesthood three years ago, so he is on his own. That is what some church officials said would happen in 2002, when victims'advocates called for molesters to be completely removed from the priesthood, a process called laicization. They were saying it again this past week.

"They wanted him defrocked; he's defrocked,"said Marianna Thompson, a spokeswoman for the Paterson Roman Catholic Diocese.

Hanley was back in the news this past week when some of his victims went to the Paterson neighborhood where he recently moved and distributed sex offender alert fliers. Hanley walked up to them and got into a shouting match with some, offering apologies to others. He talked about his bipolar disorder, saying that he'd had seven nervous breakdowns, and that he recently changed medications and was coming out of a haze. He seemed to be coming out of it angry.

Posted by kshaw at February 4, 2006 08:13 AM