Fr. James A. Smith – Diocese of Paterson

Father James A. Smith

Diocese of Paterson

Ordained: 1956

Died: 2015

Assigned as follows:

  • St. Anthony (Hawthorne, NJ)
  • Holy Family (Florham Park, NJ)
  • St. Joseph Hospital ( NJ)
  • St. Monica (Sussex, NJ)
  • Our Lady of Victories (Paterson, NJ)
  • Sacred Heart Church (Clifton, NJ)
  • St. Monica (Sussex, NJ)
  • St. Christopher (Parsippany, NJ)
  • St. Rose of Lima (East Hanover, NJ)
  • St. Patrick (Chatham, NJ)
  • St. George (Paterson, NJ)
  • St. Therese (Succasunna, NJ)

Summary of Abuse Allegations against Father James A. Smith:

In 2002, Father James A. Smith was placed on leave after allegations that he repeatedly abused a boy from 1962-1965. At the time, he was serving as a priest at Our Lady of Victories in Paterson and Sacred Heart Church in Clifton. Father Smith denied the allegation. The Diocese of Paterson deemed the allegations credible.

In 2003, a civil suit was filed against the Diocese of Paterson by one of Smith’s victims.  It was later settled in early 2005. The case was then referred to the Vatican for Smith’s removal from the priesthood.

In February 2005, the Vatican sent the case back to the Diocese of Paterson for a church trial. A Diocese tribunal found Smith guilty of abuse of at least one act of sexual abuse of a minor and decided and should be permanently suspended from priestly duties, but it did not recommend he be formally removed from the priesthood. Smith said he would appeal. Smith’s canonical trial or church trial was believed to be the first in New Jersey for a priest accused of sexually abusing a child.

Smith’s name appeared publicly on the Diocese of Paterson’s list of accused priests published in February 2019. It noted multiple allegations, but the Diocese of Paterson did not provide details as to the number of allegations it has received nor Smith’s assignments at the time of abuse. 

Smith died in January 2015.

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 New Jersey, 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.  Contact us at (954) 641-2100 or adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com today.