Fr. Reuben Abaya – Diocese of Trenton

Father Reuben Abaya

Diocese of Trenton

Ordained: 1977

Removed: N/A 

Assigned as follows:

  • 1977-1978      Our Lady Help of Christians (East Orange, NJ) 
  • 1978-1980      Holy Cross (Rumson, NJ) 
  • 1978-1980      Holy Rosary (Rumson, NJ)   
  • 1980                St. Philomena (Carson, CA) 
  • 1980-1983      St. Mary’s (Perth Amboy, NJ)  
  • 1984-2019      (Philippines)

Summary of Abuse Allegations against Father Reuben Abaya:

Father Reuben Abaya was a Filipino priest who worked in New Jersey from 1977 to 1982. According to media reports, in 1984, he was one of seven priests accused of sexual abuse of a 16-year old girl. Father Abaya was visiting the other priests at St. Philomena in Carson, CA in April 1980, when the alleged abuse occurred. 

The girl was first seduced by Father Santiago (Henry) Tamayo, then by Father Abaya and five other Filipino priests. The girl became pregnant by one of the other priests (not Father Abaya). The priests secretly sent her to the Philippines where she endured a difficult pregnancy and nearly died giving birth.

In 1984, a lawsuit was filed. With support from the Archdiocese, all the priests fled the country and returned to the Philippines. The suit was dropped soon after. In 1991, Father Tamayo, the priest who first raped the girl, publicly apologized to the victim in a news conference, for his crimes and for involving the other priests in her abuse.  In 2007, the victim’s case was settled for $500,000, part of a $660-million settlement between the church and hundreds of people alleging abuse by priests.

It is believed that Father Abaya is currently the Spiritual Director at St. Mary’s Seminary in Laoag City, Philippines.

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Diocese of Trenton.  If you need a lawyer because you were sexually abused by a priest in Trenton, contact our office today. Although many years have passed, those abused by Catholic clergy in the Diocese of Trenton 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 to discuss your options today.