Category: Sex

New Poll Reveals Catholics’ Displeased with Pope’s Handling of the Sex Abuse Scandal

New Poll Reveals Catholics’ Displeased with Pope’s Handling of the Sex Abuse Scandal

EWTN News, a global, Catholic Media Network and RealClear Opinion Research partnered to conduct an in depth survey on Catholic voters’ attitudes prior to the 2020 election. When it came to the sex abuse scandal, the findings show American Catholics favor Pope Francis more than their own bishops. 44% of Catholics approve of his handling of the crisis, while 41% say they disapprove. Though these numbers are less than favorable, the pope does rank higher than U.S. bishops, with only 30% of Catholics who approve of their handling of the scandal, compared to 55% who disapprove.

As the American Catholic landscape has evolved there has been a sweeping desire for modern reformation in the Church beyond just controlling the rampant sex abuse crisis. According to the poll, the majority of Catholic voters are in favor of allowing priests to marry (64% of all Catholic voters) and for women to be ordained as deacons (69% of all Catholic voters). 

“This data poll confirms the differences in ethnicity, age, and ideology within the Catholic community that make it such a pastoral challenge for bishops and such an electoral opportunity for politicians,” said John Carr, director of the Initiative on Catholic Social Thought and Public Life at Georgetown University.

The role of pastors in the church is to support the spiritual needs of their parishioners. Education and often counseling and guidance in times of need are responsibilities with which they are entrusted. A trusted clergyman who sexually violates young children has no place working in the Church. Any ministry in which such a crime is committed must take responsibility for failing to properly screen potential priests and protect their parishioners. 

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests in the United States. If you or a loved one was sexually abused, raped or sexually molested by a priest or other clergy, contact our law firm at (888) 283-9922 or send an e-mail to sexual abuse lawyer Adam Horowitz at adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com for a free consultation.

Brother Walter Hicks – Diocese of Camden

Brother Walter Hicks (Brothers of Charity)

Diocese of Camden

Ordained: Unknown

Left Order: Unknown

Died: Unknown

Assigned as follows:

  • St. Peter’s Church (Pleasantville, NJ)

Summary of Abuse Allegations against Brother Walter Hicks:

Brother Walter Hicks was a member of the Brothers of Charity religious order. According to media reports, in December 2019, a man filed a lawsuit under New Jersey’s new Victim’s Rights Bill against the Diocese of Camden and the Brothers of Charity alleging that he was sexually abused as a minor by Brother Walter Hicks. The alleged abuse occurred when the man was about 7 to 9 years old from approximately 1978 to 1980 at St. Peter’s Church in Pleasantville, New Jersey.  

The man told reporters, “When I would tell my family that I didn’t want to go to school and I was afraid of my abuser — I didn’t know the words to say, ‘I am being sexually violated by an adult.’ … Those words, a child doesn’t know.”

Regarding his decision to come forward, he said “I’ve tried for years to bring accountability, bring attention to this crime and neglect and cover-up and I can’t do it alone. I can’t do it without attorneys helping me,” he continued. “I’ve tried. I’ve asked the brothers to help. I’ve asked the diocese to help. I’ve asked their coordinators to help. And I’m still here waiting for them to be accountable.”

Brother Hicks’ name has never appeared on any diocesan list of credibly accused clergy because he was not a cleric, but a member of a religious order. He is believed to have left the Brothers of Charity and became a therapist counseling victims of sexual abuse. He is deceased.

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Diocese of Camden.  If you need a lawyer because you were sexually abused by a priest in Camden, contact our office today. Although many years have passed, those abused by Catholic clergy in the Diocese of Camden now have legal options to recover damages due to a compensation fund created for victims.  Call us at (888) 283-9922 or send an email to adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com to discuss your options today.

Fr. Luke Travers – Diocese of Paterson

Father Luke Travers

Diocese of Paterson

Ordained: 1986

Removed: 2012

Assigned as follows:

  • 1987-1997      St. Mary’s Abbey (Morristown, NJ) 
  • 1998-2007      St. Mary’s Abbey; Delbarton School (Morristown, NJ)
  • 2008               St. Mary’s Abbey (Morristown, NJ); Holy Trinity (New York, NY) 
  • 2009-2016      St. Mary’s Abbey (Morristown, NJ) 
  • 2017-2019      Unknown

Summary of Abuse Allegations against Father Luke Travers:

Father Luke Travers, a Benedictine monk, was the headmaster at Delbarton School in New Jersey from 1999 through 2007, but taught there before and after that time. 

According to media reports, in April 2011, a former student sent a letter to St. Mary’s Abbey, which runs the school, alleging sexual misconduct by Father Travers as he was consoling him when his father was dying. The letter said the monk offered him alcohol, hugged and kissed him, professed his love and said he wanted to run away with him when he came back to the school after graduating. 

Another former student came forward alleging that when Father Travers was headmaster, he grabbed the boy’s crotch and butt when he was about 14 years old in the 1980s. Amidst the allegations, the monk was removed from his position as non-residential administrator at St. Mary’s Abbey in Virginia, and ordered to live under restrictions that barred him from contact with anyone under 25. 

In March 2012, a lawsuit was filed by two brothers who grew up on the campus of the Delbarton School where their father was a teacher. The suit claimed they were sexually abused Father Travers while he was headmaster in the 1970s. He denied the allegations. In April 2012, he severed ties with the Benedictine order.

In June 2018, a settlement was reached with five men alleging abuse by five monks, including Father Travers at Delbarton School.

In July 2018, Delbarton School and St. Mary’s Abbey, publicly acknowledged for the first time, the accusations of 30 individuals who have alleged abuse by 13 past or current priests and monks there, and one retired lay faculty member, over the course of three decades.

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Diocese of Paterson.  If you need a lawyer because you were sexually abused by a priest in Paterson, contact our office today. Although many years have passed, those abused by Catholic clergy in the Diocese of Paterson now have legal options to recover damages due to a compensation fund created for victims.  Call us at (888) 283-9922 or send an email to adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com to discuss your options today.

Fr. Robert Yurgel – Diocese of Paterson

Father Robert Yurgel 

Diocese of Paterson

Ordained: 1996

Laicized: 2010

Assigned as follows:

  • 1992                Catholic Conference Center (Hickory, NC)
  • 1992-1993      St. Felix Friary (Wilmington, DE) 
  • 1993-1996      Our Lady of Lourdes Friary (Paterson, NJ)
  • 1996-1997      Immaculate Conception Friary (New York, NY)
  • 1997-1999      St. Matthew’s (Charlotte, NC); Our Lady of Consolation (Charlotte, NC); St. Michael’s (Gastonia, NC); Immaculate Conception Friary (New York, NY)  
  • 1999-2001      Immaculate Conception Friary (New York, NY) 
  • 2001-2003      Our Lady of Lourdes (Paterson, NJ); Immaculate Conception Friary (New York, NY)
  • 2003-2006      Immaculate Conception Friary (New York, NY)
  • 2006-2008      St. Mary’s Hospital (Passaic, NJ); Our Lady of Mt. Carmel (Passaic, NJ); Immaculate Conception Friary (New York, NY); St. Francis (Passaic, NJ)
  • 2008-2009      Immaculate Conception Friary (New York, NY)
  • 2010-2019      Unknown

Summary of Abuse Allegations against Father Robert Yurgel:

Father Robert Yurgel was a priest for the Capuchin Franciscan Friars of the Province of the Sacred Stigmata of St. Francis. He was assigned in 1997 to the Diocese of Charlotte NC, where he worked in several area parishes. In October 1999 he was transferred out of the diocese, and returned to his order in New York. He was then assigned to the Diocese of Paterson NJ. 

According to media reports, in 2008, a 23-year-old man reported to police that Father Yurgel sexually abused him beginning in 1999 when he was a 14-year-old altar boy at St. Matthew’s in Charlotte, while Father Yurgel was an assistant priest. The man said the abuse occurred at St. Matthew’s, Our Lady of Consolation, in a car in the parking lot of St. Michael’s in Gastonia, and at the boy’s home when his parents were out. Father Yurgel was a close friend of the boy’s family.

The priest was arrested in New Jersey in April 2008, and extradited to North Carolina. At the time of his arrest, he was chaplain at St. Mary’s in Passaic, NJ. He pleaded guilty, and in February 2009 was sentenced to a minimum of seven years and eight months in prison, and was ordered to register as a sex offender.

“For the past decade, I have lived in fear of you. You made me believe my family would be mad at me. But … my family did believe me. My family did not get mad at me. My family still loves me,” the victim said in court.

In 2008, Father Yurgel’s victim filed a suit against the Diocese of Charlotte and Capuchin Franciscans, claiming they covered up his case, and that the diocese knew of his sexual misconduct in 1999. The suit was settled in 2010 for $1.23 million. He was laicized the same year.

Father Yurgel was released from prison in August 2016. He reportedly moved from North Carolina to New Jersey in November 2016. 

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Diocese of Paterson.  If you need a lawyer because you were sexually abused by a priest in Paterson, contact our office today. Although many years have passed, those abused by Catholic clergy in the Diocese of Paterson now have legal options to recover damages due to a compensation fund created for victims.  Call us at (888) 283-9922 or send an email to adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com to discuss your options today.

Fr. Victor Phelan – Archdiocese of Newark

Father Victor Phelan

Archdiocese of Newark

Ordained: 1971

Removed: Unknown

Assigned as follows:

  • 1971-1976      Bawku Catholic Mission (Bawku, Ghana) 
  • 1976-1978      Residence (Chicago, IL) 
  • 1978-1979      St. Mary’s (Plainfield, NJ)
  • 1980-1989      White Fathers of Africa activity (Africa)
  • 1989-1992      Missionaries of Africa (Los Angeles, CA)
  • 1990-1991      Missionaries of Africa (Chicago, IL)
  • 1993-2019      Unknown

Summary of Abuse Allegations against Father Victor Phelan:

Father Victor Phelan was a priest of the Society of Missionaries of Africa order. His ministry took him from Ghana in West Africa to the archdioceses of Chicago, Newark and Los Angeles. He was assigned for at least one year (1977) in Plainfield in the New Jersey. Father Phelan was accused of child sexual abuse in a lawsuit settled in May 2013. His whereabouts beyond 1992 are unknown. 

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Archdiocese of Newark.  If you need a lawyer because you were sexually abused by a priest in Newark, contact our office today. Although many years have passed, those abused by Catholic clergy in the Archdiocese of Newark now have legal options to recover damages due to a compensation fund created for victims.  Call us at (888) 283-9922 or send an email to adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com to discuss your options today.

Fr. Carlos Peralta – Archdiocese of Newark

Father Carlos Peralta

Archdiocese of Newark

Ordained: 1990

Removed: 1999

Assigned as follows:

  • 1980-1996      (Chile, Peru, and Guatemala) 
  • 1997                (Argentina) 
  • 1998-1999      St. John Bosco (Chicago, IL) 
  • 1999                Salesian Residence (NJ) 
  • 1999                (Virginia) 
  • 2000                Unknown
  • 2001                (Mexico City, Mexico)
  • 2002-2019      Unknown

Summary of Abuse Allegations against Father Carlos Peralta:

Father Carlos Peralta was a priest of the Salesian of Don Bosco order. According to media reports, allegations of sexual misconduct with minors dated back to when he was in Seminary in Chile in the 1980s. Other allegations of child sexual abuse continued in Guatemala and Peru. 

In 1995, Father Peralta was accused of sexually abusing two boys from Lima during a high school retreat. One boy said the priest brought him to his room. 

“He started to stroke me and he tried to touch my genitals.” When the boy protested, Father Peralta “told me in a threatening voice to go to my room and not to tell anybody about what happened.” 

The other student alleged that Father Peralta came to visit him two nights in a row. On the second night he insisted “that I take off my pants and then my underwear.” Then, the boy said, “he turned around and told me to hug and to tickle him.”

A church disciplinary board concluded that “unspeakable things have occurred” and that the priest must be kept away from children. The director of the Salesian High School of Lima moved Father Peralta to another town. One year later, in 1996, he allegedly molested a teenage student during trips from Arequipa, Peru where he taught high school. In 1997, the Salesians sent him to Domus Mariae, a clergy abuse treatment center in Argentina. 

In March 1998, the Order transferred the priest to Chicago where he was assigned to work in the youth center at the St. John Bosco parish. In May 1999, the father of four boys filed a lawsuit alleging that Father Peralta abused each of his children. That summer, before police could question him, the Order sent Father Peralta to Orange, NJ, then to Mexico City, with a prohibition against unsupervised access to children. 

He was removed from public ministry in August 1999. He was sent to a treatment center in Virginia, then to a residence for Salesians in New Jersey.  In 2004, he was reportedly working as a priest in Mexico City.

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Archdiocese of Newark.  If you need a lawyer because you were sexually abused by a priest in Newark, contact our office today. Although many years have passed, those abused by Catholic clergy in the Archdiocese of Newark now have legal options to recover damages due to a compensation fund created for victims.  Call us at (888) 283-9922 or send an email to adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com to discuss your options today.

Fr. Contardo Angelo Omarini – Archdiocese of Newark

Father Contardo Angelo Omarini

Archdiocese of Newark

Ordained: 1936

Died: 1995

Assigned as follows:

  • 1937-1949      Unknown
  • 1950-1952      St. Paul’s Monastery (Canfield, OH)  
  • 1953-1955      St. Paul’s Seminary (Port Richmond, NY)
  • 1956-1960      Unknown 
  • 1961-1963      St. Paul’s Seminary (Port Richmond, NY)
  • 1964-1977      Unknown; St. Bernard (Plainfield, NJ) 
  • 1965-1966      St. Paul’s Seminary (Port Richmond, NY)
  • 1967-1969      Unknown
  • 1970-1978      St. Paul’s Seminary (Port Richmond, NY)
  • 1979-1994      Society of St. Paul (New York, NY)
  • 1995-2019      Unknown

Summary of Abuse Allegations against Father Contardo Angelo Omarini:

Father Contardo Angelo Omarini, a Paulist priest, was incardinated in the Archdiocese of New York, but also worked in the Archdiocese of Newark. He was assigned to the order’s facility on Staten Island for his entire career, except for two years while he worked at St. Paul’s Monastery in Canfield OH in 1950-1952. 

According to media reports, in 2012, a man stated in a statute of limitations testimony that as a teenage boy he was repeatedly raped for three years by Father Omarini in the early to mid-1960s. The boy was a parishioner at St. Bernard’s Church in Plainfield NJ, where the priest said Mass in Italian on Sundays. The complainant stated that there were other victims and that Father Omarini abused in Plainville and also on Staten Island at the Society’s abbey there. 

Father Omarini was never charged in any abuse case. He died in November 1995.

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Archdiocese of Newark.  If you need a lawyer because you were sexually abused by a priest in Newark, contact our office today. Although many years have passed, those abused by Catholic clergy in the Archdiocese of Newark now have legal options to recover damages due to a compensation fund created for victims.  Call us at (888) 283-9922 or send an email to adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com to discuss your options today.

Fr. William Scanlon – Archdiocese of Newark

Father William Scanlon

Archdiocese of Newark

Ordained: Unknown

Restricted: 1994

Impeded: 2011

Assigned as follows:

  • 1964-1967      McQuaid Jesuit (Rochester, NY)
  • 1971-1972      Xavier High School (New York, NY)
  • 1972-1974      Fordham University (Bronx, NY)
  • 1974-1976      St. Peter’s University (Jersey City, NJ)
  • 1976-1980      Canisius College (Buffalo, NY)
  • 1980-1992      St. Joseph’s Parish (Benin City, Nigeria)
  • 1994-2007      Unknown
  • 2008-2019      Fordham University (Bronx, NY)

Summary of Abuse Allegations against Father William Scanlon:

Father William Scanlon was a Jesuit priest who worked at various schools. According to the Jesuits, upon a 1994 investigation, he admitted to abusing minors from 1985 to 1994. He was “restricted,” yet in the Jesuits official magazine in 2010, Father Scanlon was shown giving Holy Communion. He was impeded in 2011.

His name is not listed in the 2018 edition of the Official Catholic Directory. He lived at the retirement residences of Murray-Weigel Hall at Fordham University in New York from at least 2008 to 2019, serving as its chaplain.

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Archdiocese of Newark.  If you need a lawyer because you were sexually abused by a priest in Newark, contact our office today. Although many years have passed, those abused by Catholic clergy in the Archdiocese of Newark now have legal options to recover damages due to a compensation fund created for victims.  Call us at (888) 283-9922 or send an email to adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com to discuss your options today.

Fr. Randal (James) Gillette – Archdiocese of Newark

Father Randal (James) Gillette 

Archdiocese of Newark

Ordained: 1971

Removed: N/A

Assigned as follows:

  • 1971-1974      St. Michael’s Monastery (Union City, NJ)
  • 1974-1978      St. Gabriel (Boston, MA) 
  • 1978-1987      St. Patrick (Mexico City, MX) 
  • 1988                NJ Passionist Provincial Office (South River, NJ)
  • 1989                Unknown  
  • 1990-1993      NJ Passionist Provincial Office (South River, NJ) 
  • 1991-1993      Foreign Mission
  • 1994                St. Paul of the Cross Monastery (Pittsburgh, PA) 
  • 1995-1998      Unknown
  • 1999-2004      St. Vincent’s Residence (Pelham Manor, NY)
  • 2003-2004      Passionist Communications, Inc. (Pelham, NY)
  • 2005-2008      Unknown
  • 2009-2011      Passionist Residence (Bronx, NY)
  • 2012-2019      Unknown

Summary of Abuse Allegations against Father Randal (James) Gillette :

Father Randal (James) Gillette was a Passionist priest whose assignments took him to New Jersey, Massachusetts, Mexico City, Honduras, Pennsylvania and New York. According to media reports, his personnel file was released in January 2003, containing a September 2002 letter accusing him of sexually assaulting a boy at St. Gabriel’s Parish in Brighton, Massachusetts in 1972.  No further information was found. 

Father Gillette’s name was not included in the 2011 Archdiocese of Boston’s Database of Publicly Accused Priests in the United States because he was an Order priest. In March 2016, it was included on a list of accused clerics named in civil claims resulting in settlements or arbitration awards. His current whereabouts are unknown. 

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Archdiocese of Newark.  If you need a lawyer because you were sexually abused by a priest in Newark, contact our office today. Although many years have passed, those abused by Catholic clergy in the Archdiocese of Newark now have legal options to recover damages due to a compensation fund created for victims.  Call us at (888) 283-9922 or send an email to adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com to discuss your options today.

Br. George Donnelly – Archdiocese of Newark

Brother George Donnelly

Archdiocese of Newark

Ordained: 1964

Resigned: 2003

Assigned as follows:

  • Prior 1984       St. Joseph Regional High School (Montvale, NJ) 
  • 1984-2003      St. John’s Preparatory School (Danvers, MA) 
  • 2004-2005      Unknown
  • 2006                South Shore Hospital (Waymouth, MA)  
  • 2007-2019      South Sarasota County Food Bank (Sarasota, FL)

Summary of Abuse Allegations against Brother George Donnelly:

Brother George Donnelly was a member of the Xavierian religious order. He was a teacher, guidance counselor and Director of Student Activities at St. John’s all boys’ prep school for almost 20 years. According to media reports, in December 2003, he resigned after a former student said Brother Donnelly molested him in 1993.

Brother Donnelly initially denied the charges, but later admitted to incidents of “sexual misconduct” with the 17-yr-old student. The school’s headmaster called his conduct “so egregious as to force removal from his post.” The DA’s office did not consider the incidents to be of a criminal nature. 

Brother Donnelly went on to serve as a hospital chaplain in the Archdiocese of Boston in 2006. He later moved to the Venice FL area, where he has continued as a “nondenominational” hospital chaplain and food bank volunteer. His name was not included in the 2011 Archdiocese of Boston’s Database of Publicly Accused Priests in the United States.

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Archdiocese of Newark.  If you need a lawyer because you were sexually abused by a priest in Newark, contact our office today. Although many years have passed, those abused by Catholic clergy in the Archdiocese of Newark now have legal options to recover damages due to a compensation fund created for victims.  Call us at (888) 283-9922 or send an email to adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com to discuss your options today.