Father Michael “Mitch” Walters
Archdiocese of Newark
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 firstname.lastname@example.org today.