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  N.J. Priest Punished for Teen Sex

By Jeff Diamant
Star-Ledger [New Jersey]
May 2, 2003

A judge in Montreal sentenced a North Jersey Roman Catholic priest to two years' probation yesterday, three weeks after he pleaded guilty to soliciting sex from a 16-year-old male prostitute.

Quebec Judge Claude Gillette also barred the Rev. Eugene Heyndricks from having contact with minors during the probationary period unless accompanied by another adult, Heyndricks' attorney said.

! Heyndricks, who worked in parishes in Ridgewood, Park Ridge, Fairview, and most recently at St. John Nepomucene in Guttenberg, was unavailable for comment yesterday. His attorney, Frank Pappas, said Heyndricks will return to New Jersey today, but does not know where he will be staying.

In July, police arrested Heyndricks and the Rev. William Giblin, former headmaster at the Seton Hall Preparatory School, in a gay-friendly enclave in Montreal in what authorities called the dismantling of a male prostitution ring that frequently drew patrons from the United States.

Police charged that Giblin negotiated terms of an encounter between Heyndricks -- who was his traveling partner -- and the prostitute. Prosecutor Sophie Lavergne decided to drop the charge against Giblin last month.

Lavergne asked Gillette yesterday to sentence Heyndricks to four months, either in jail or house arrest in Montreal. Lavergne said she did not believe Heyndricks presented a risk to the community. Pappas asked the judge to impose only a fine.

Gillette said he felt Heyndricks had led an exemplary life, that the charges represented an isolated incident, and that the 16-year-old boy was a professional prostitute, Pappas said, adding that Heyndricks paid $100 for the encounter that occurred in Heyndricks' hotel room.

Both priests might face disciplinary action from the Newark Archdiocese, which is conducting its own investigation.

"It's a very sad situation," said Jim Goodness, spokesman for Newark Archbishop John J. Myers. "It's unfortunate that any priest is involved in something like this."

Both men lived in church rectories in the diocese before their arrests. Heyndricks lived at St. John Nepomucene. Giblin, though retired, lived at Holy Rosary Church in Edgewater.

Both priests took voluntary leaves of absence after their arrests, Goodness said.

Jeff Diamant covers religion. He can be reached at jdiamant@starledger.com or (973) 392-1547.

 
 

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