NEWARK, NJ — On Wednesday, Feb. 13, New Jersey’s five Roman Catholic dioceses released lists of priests who have been “credibly accused” of sexually abusing minors in the past several decades. The Archdiocese of Newark released a list with 63 names on it; all of the priests listed had either died or been removed from the ministry.
“The revelations of clergy sexual abuse of minors throughout this past year have provoked feelings of shock, anger, shame, and deep sorrow throughout our Catholic community. Victims, their families and the faithful are rightfully outraged over the abuses perpetrated against minors. Additionally, the failure of Church leadership to immediately remove suspected abusers from ministry is particularly reprehensible,” Cardinal Joseph Tobin, the archbishop of Newark, said in a Feb. 13 letter. “In an effort to do what is right and just, we are publishing the names of diocesan clergy credibly accused of sexual abuse of minors in the Archdiocese of Newark. This list of names is the result of an extensive review of Archdiocesan records dating back to 1940. All names were previously reported to law enforcement agencies.”
The lists released by the diocese do not include details about specific allegations or when they are alleged to have happened. The lists also do not include religious order priests, such as Jesuits, who may serve in parishes or schools but are not ordained by the diocese.
This move from the New Jersey archdioceses comes after a fall decision from state Attorney Gen. Gurbir Grewal to form a task force to investigate sexual abuse perpetrated by clergy in the state.
“While this is a positive first step towards transparency and accountability, I hope this spirit of openness continues during the course of our ongoing investigation and in response to our requests for records and information,” Grewal said in a Feb. 13 statement.
Tobin agreed that this is not the end of the matter.
“The disclosure of this list of names is not an endpoint in our process. Rather, it is an expression of our commitment to protecting our children, and a new level of transparency in the way we report and respond to allegations of abuse. We must protect our children, first, foremost and always,” Tobin said. “Moving forward, vigilance must be maintained. We all must be committed to protecting our children, the most vulnerable members of our community. As such, I urge anyone aware of suspected sexual misconduct by any cleric, employee or volunteer of the Archdiocese to report it immediately to law enforcement and to the Archdiocesan Victim Assistance Coordinator at 201-407-3256.”
According to court records and previously published reports, several priests who served in the Newark Archdiocese have been accused of molesting boys as part of their volunteer work with Boy Scout troops; others named in the release were arrested, convicted or pleaded guilty and were returned to service after probation or treatment.
Perhaps the most prominent name of the list released by the Archdiocese of Newark is Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick, who served as the archbishop of the Archdiocese of Newark from 1986 to 2000. The Vatican announced Feb. 16 that McCarrick has been defrocked.
According to the Catholic Standard, following an investigation by a panel of the Congregation for Doctrine of the Faith, McCarrick was found guilty of “solicitation in the sacrament of confession and sins against the Sixth Commandment with minors and with adults, with the aggravating factor of the abuse of power.”
According to published reports, McCarrick served until 2006, when he submitted his resignation at age 75. For the past year, he had been living in seclusion in a monastery in Kansas, according to reports.
In addition to McCarrick, several priests on the list have ties to the communities of Maplewood, South Orange and West Orange. While the list detailed where each clergyman served, it did not list the years of their service. When the newspaper reached out to Newark Archdiocese spokeswoman Maria Margiotta for the specific years of service, she declined to provide that information. The dates provided below come from various published reports.
According to the Archdiocese, James Carey, who was born in 1906 and ordained in 1936, worked at Seton Hall University in South Orange. Carey was SHU’s assistant director of athletics in 1942 when he enlisted in the U.S. Army; from there, he served as director of athletics from 1945 to 1956 and he has been inducted into the school’s Hall of Fame. Carey is now deceased. The list from the Archdiocese says he had one victim.
William Giblin, who was born in 1932 and ordained in 1959, worked at Seton Hall University and Seton Hall Preparatory School. Giblin taught at SHU in the 1960s and served as headmaster of the Prep from 1969 to 1980; the prep was located in South Orange from 1860 to 1985, when it moved to West Orange. Giblin died in 2011. The list from the Archdiocese says he had one victim.
Robert Gibney, who was born in 1927 and ordained in 1954, had unclear ties to Seton Hall University. He is listed as having been assigned to the Immaculate Conception Seminary in South Orange. He retired from the priesthood in 1997 and died in 2012. The list from the Archdiocese says he had multiple victims.
Kevin Gugliotta, who was born in 1962 and ordained in 1996, worked at St. Joseph’s Church in West Orange at some point in his career. According to court documents and previously published reports, allegations were made against him in 2003 that in the mid-1980s, before joining the priesthood, he had sexually assaulted some boys while serving as a Scout Master. He was reinstated to the priesthood in 2004 because, according to the Vatican, it cannot punish a priest for actions he committed as a layman, prior to joining the priesthood. Gugliotta was arrested in October 2016 on 40 counts of possessing and disseminating child pornography; he pleaded guilty and was sentenced to jail and forced to register as a sex offender. Following his arrest, Gugliotta was permanently removed from the priesthood.
According to the Archdiocese, Kevin Kortina, who was born in 1944 and ordained in 1970, served at Our Lady of Lourdes in West Orange. He is now deceased. The list from the Archdiocese says he had one victim.
Richard Mieliwocki, who was born in 1946 and ordained in 1972, served at Our Lady of Sorrows in South Orange. Back in 1994, Mieliwocki had been placed on leave for alleged sexual misconduct against two individuals at OLS and he never returned to the ministry. As a nonpracticing priest, however, he became a social worker and in 2007 pleaded guilty to two counts of child abuse stemming from his work at Daytop Village, a center for troubled boys in Mendham. Mieliwocki has been permanently removed from the ministry and laicized. The list from the Archdiocese says he had multiple victims.
Deacon Thomas Mousley, who was ordained in 1976, served at St. Joseph’s Church in Maplewood. He has been permanently removed from the ministry. The list from the Archdiocese says he had one victim.
Gerald Ruane, who was born in 1934 and ordained in 1960, worked at Our Lady of Lourdes in West Orange. He died in 2015. The list from the Archdiocese says he had multiple victims.
Michael M. Walters, who was born in 1955 and ordained in 1981, served as a parochial vicar at Our Lady of Sorrows in South Orange from 2011 to 2016. According to previously published reports, Walters was accused of molesting children from 1982 through 1995 at St. Cassian Church and school in Montclair and at St. John Nepomucene Church in Guttenberg. Walters has been permanently removed from the ministry. The list from the Archdiocese says he had multiple victims.
Robert Zasacki, who was born in 1940 and ordained in 1967, worked at St. Joseph’s Church in West Orange. He was removed from the priesthood in 2002 and died in 2008. The list from the Archdiocese says he had one victim.
“It is our sincerest hope that this disclosure will help bring healing to those whose lives have been so deeply violated. We also pray that this can serve as an initial step in our efforts to help restore your trust in the leadership of the Catholic Church,” Tobin said. “I wish to express my genuine sorrow to the victims and their families who were so profoundly betrayed. On behalf of our Church, I beg your forgiveness. You have my solemn promise of prayers and support as you continue on your healing journey.
“As a sign of our commitment and support, a new Independent Victim Compensation Program has been established,” he continued. “This program will allow those sexually abused as minors by clergy to seek compensation in a compassionate, expeditious and transparent manner. While no degree of financial compensation can adequately address the suffering endured, we want this to be a genuine expression of our remorse and our desire to comfort and compensate those victimized by this abuse.”