Fr. Robert Yurgel – Diocese of Paterson

Father Robert Yurgel 

Diocese of Paterson

Robert Yurgel Horowitz Law

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:

Fr. 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 Yurgel sexually abused him beginning in 1999 when he was a 14-year-old altar boy at St. Matthew’s in Charlotte, while 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. Yurgel was in fact a close friend of the boy’s family.

Yurgel 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, 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.

According to media reports, in 2020, a lawsuit was filed accusing Yurgel of sexual abuse of a boy between the ages of 5 and 7 years old. The abuse began in 1997 and went on for approximately 2 years at the Ballantyne Church in North Carolina.

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.