March 22, 2006

Ex-priest's former prey watch him with worry

The Star-Ledger

Wednesday, March 22, 2006
Star-Ledger Staff

Paul Steidler always worried that James Hanley would strike again.

Steidler was one of at least a dozen boys in the 1970s and 1980s molested by Hanley, the defrocked Catholic priest from the Paterson Diocese at the center of the state's most notorious clergy sex abuse case.

Yet even after Hanley admitted to the abuse in court papers in late 2003, Steidler's anxiety didn't ease. Because of the statute of limitations, Hanley was never charged with a crime -- and therefore was never registered as a sex offender and subjected to monitoring by police.

So Steidler, Mark Serrano and some of their fellow victims have taken to doing it themselves. They view themselves as self-appointed watchdogs, regularly running Hanley's name through Internet searches and even paying for private detectives.

Now, after months of erratic behavior by Hanley, and after the former priest's move last fall from a senior citizens housing complex to a residential neighborhood with children, Steidler and other victims say their concerns have grown.

Posted by kshaw at March 22, 2006 07:32 AM