Tag: Michael Walters

CardinalJoseph Tobin Sexual Abuse

Newark Cardinal Joseph Tobin: You Call This ‘Transparency?

If you relied on Newark Cardinal Joseph Tobin (Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Newark), here’s what you would know about one of New Jersey’s most prominent and prolific child molesting clerics:

Fr. Carmen Sita faced ‘multiple’ victims, was defrocked, worked at one parish in Jersey City and inexplicably also went by the name Fr. Jerry Howard.

That’s all that the information that Cardinal JosephTobin provides on his archdiocesan website.

But the Cardinal didn’t mention that Sita

–pleaded guilty to giving drugs to and abusing a New Jersey kid

–was accused of molesting at least four others there

–was sent to a New Mexico church facility for ‘treatment’

–while there, legally changed his name to Jerry Howard

–was sent, without warning, to a parish in the Jefferson City Missouri diocese

–molested several boys there, again, also giving them drugs

–was charged with abusing three kids

–was removed from his parish

–went on to work at two secular jobs in Missouri – Charter Hospital in Columbia and as a counselor in Fulton (again, apparently with no warning to others),

–pleaded guilty and

–is behind bars now.

https://www.bishop-accountability.org/assign/Sita_Carmen_aka_Gerald_Howard.htm

https://www.columbiamissourian.com/news/former-boonville-priest-pleads-guilty-to-sexual-abuse-charges/article_4fcacc0c-69c9-5a43-b160-51b1f751a731.html

So Cardinal Tobin left out far more information about Fr. Sita (or Fr. Howard) than he provided.

This egregious misrepresentation of course led us to spend a few more minutes looking at the Newark Archdiocese ‘credibly accused” list.

We found more of the same deceit:

Fr. Michael Charles Fugee faced one accuser, has been defrocked, and worked at five locations (a hospital chaplaincy and parishes in Newark, Rochelle Park, Wycoff and Short Hills), according to Tobin.

Tobin deliberately leaves out these facts about Fr. Fugee:

–he worked at a second Newark parish,

–he worked a parish in Colt’s Neck,

–he held several other Newark church assignments (the Holy Childhood Association, Missionary Union of Priests & Religious, Continuing Education and Ongoing Formation of Priests),

–he was found guilty of aggravated sexual contact, was sentenced to a lifetime of parole and was ordered to register as a sex offender,

–when that conviction was overturned on appeal, Fugee signed an agreement that he would never again work unsupervised with children and would undergo sex offender therapy,

–but a few years later Fr. Fugee was back in ministry, as a hospital chaplain,

–was then ousted when hospital officials complained they’d not been told of his past,

–was also given chancery assignments,

–years later, he had been helping with overnight teen retreats and hearing teens’ confessions, and

–after parishioners’ expressed outrage, finally resigned from active ministry.

http://www.bishopaccountability.org/assign/Fugee_Michael_Charles.htm

https://www.bishop-accountability.org/diocesan_lists/Newark/2019_02_13_Newark_Clergy_Credibly_Accused_List.pdf

As if these two horrific cases aren’t enough, consider these two:

Fr. Michael “Mitch” Walters, who faces “multiple” credible allegations and has been “permanently removed” from ministry, Tobin tells us.

Tobin doesn’t mention, however, that Fr. Walters was also accused of being part of a ‘sex ring’ with former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick. Or that at least five men have settled lawsuits charging that Fr. Walters molested them as kids.

https://www.bishop-accountability.org/news2020/07_08/2020_07_23_Yellin_ExcardinalTheodore.htm

Fr. Peter M. Walsh is ‘credibly accused,’ Cardinal Joseph Tobin reveals, but insists that people refer to the Order of Friars Minor for more information.”

With a few clicks on a keyboard, we find that Fr. Walsh was in fact:

–convicted on five counts of child endangerment – for exposing himself to children – in Lyndhurst NJ and

–is on the New Hampshire diocese’s ‘credibly accused’ list.

https://www.bishop-accountability.org/NH-Manchester/2009_03_07_Audit_Records/individual/NH_91_A_000286_000295_File_049.pdf

https://www.bishop-accountability.org/diocesan_lists/Manchester/2019_08_01_Manchester_Publication_of_Names.pdf#page=21

Can the deception get worse? Sadly, yes. These two priests can be found nowhere on Archbishop Tobin’s website:

–Fr. Harry Dean Walker, who has been defrocked for reportedly abusing in Maryland but went on to become the Director of the Youth Action Center in Newark and youth pastor at Faith City.

https://www.bishop-accountability.org/assign/Walker_Rev_Harry_Dean.htm

https://www.bishop-accountability.org/news555/1972_12_08_Spraker_Ex_Priest_joins.pdf

–Fr. Kevin Bray, who is accused of abuse and twice worked in the Newark archdiocese (East Orange, and Elizabeth). He also worked in two other dioceses (Paterson NJ and Wilmington DE), lived in Florida and was a military chaplain.

https://www.bishop-accountability.org/assign/Bray_Kevin_OSB_Anderson_assg_rec.pdf

We at Horowitz Law won’t hold our breath waiting on Cardinal Joseph Tobin to make these corrections or additions to his ‘credibly accused’ list.

It’s a rare day when a Catholic official says “Oops. Sorry. We forgot to tell you about a few predator priests.”

And it’s even more rare when one says “Yea, you caught us. We thought we could keep a few predator priests hidden. But now that you’ve pointed out my deception, I’ll promptly add them to our ‘credibly accused’ list.”

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Archdiocese of Newark in New Jersey.  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 Archdiocese of Newark now have legal options, but filing deadlines will apply so do not delay in reaching out to us.  Our lawyers have decades of experience representing survivors of clergy sexual abuse in New Jersey and nationwide. We can help.

Fr. Michael “Mitch” Walters – Archdiocese of Newark

Father Michael “Mitch” Walters

Archdiocese of Newark

 Fr. Mitch Walters Horowitz Law

Ordained: 1965

Removed: 2016

Assigned as follows:

  • Our Lady Of Sorrows (South Orange, NJ)  
  • Our Lady of Mt. Carmel (Orange, NJ)  
  • Holy Spirit/Our Lady Help of Christians (East Orange, NJ)  
  • St. Matthew (Ridgefield, NJ)  
  • St. John Nepomucene (Gutttenberg, NJ)  
  • Sacred Heart (Haworth, NJ)  
  • Our Lady of All Souls (East Orange, NJ)  
  • St. Cassian (Upper Montclair, NJ)

Summary of Abuse Allegations against Father Michael “Mitch” Walters:

According to media reports in August 2015, allegations were reported to the Archdiocese of Newark that Father Michael “Mitch” Walters abused two minors in the early 1980s while assigned to St. Cassian in Montclair. Walters was accused of molesting a 12-year-old boy in 1982 and a 13-year-old girl in 1982 and 1983. One accuser said Walters fondled and kissed him repeatedly as an altar boy; the other claimed Walters molested her when she was ages 13-14.  Walters denied the accusations.

In October 2015, Father Walters was suspended from ministry.

Another woman publicly accused Walters of molesting her twice during the same time period when she was between the ages of 12 and 14 at St. Cassian.  

In July 2016, investigators conducted a criminal investigation of allegations that Father Walters sexually abused a boy in the 1990s at St. John Nepomucene in Guttenberg.  In August 2016, the accuser filed suit. His attorney said he was representing five other alleged victims of Father Walters.  The victim said the alleged abuse occurred between about 1982 and 1994, when his clients were approximately 8-14 years old.

In September 2016,  the Archdiocese of Newark received a protective order shielding the personnel files of Father Walters from being disclosed to the public as part of several civil lawsuits filed by alleged victims of clergy abuse.  The public would never know what the Archdiocese of Newark knew about Walters’ history of abuse. 

In October 2017, a judge found probable cause to file criminal charges of first-degree aggravated sexual assault and second-degree sexual assault against Father Walters.

In January 2019, five cases were settled with the Archdiocese of Newark for a total of $400,000, with a sixth case against him still in court at the time.

In defense of its conduct, the Archdiocese of Newark raised the defense of “contributory negligence,” meaning that the victims contributed to their own abuse and therefore were ultimately at fault for what happened to them.

In February 2019, Walters’s name appeared on the Archdiocese of Newark’s list of credibly accused priests, which indicated that he was the subject of “multiple” allegations of sexual abuse. He was permanently removed from the ministry.

It is not clear where Walters is currently residing, and the Archdiocese refuses to say.  It is likely that he is living in a retirement home for accused priests located near Rutherford.  Walters is now 65 years old.

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