Paterson Diocese Rules Priest Molested Boy

By John Chadwick [Paterson NJ]
February 3, 2005

The Paterson Diocese has determined that one of its priests molested a Fair Lawn boy in the 1960s and should be removed from public ministry, a spokeswoman said Wednesday.

The ruling brings to a conclusion the first church trial held in North Jersey as a result of the clergy abuse scandal of 2002.

A panel of three priests found that the Rev. James A.D. Smith was "guilty of at least one act of sexual abuse of a minor," spokeswoman Marianna Thompson said in a statement.

Smith, in his 70s, is barred from celebrating the sacraments of the church, including communion.

"The penalty shall be permanent suspension of Rev. Smith's faculties as a priest," the statement said. "He may no longer represent himself as a priest or exercise any of the authorities or duties of ecclesiastical office."

Smith, who served in several parishes, including Sacred Heart in Clifton and Our Lady of Victories in Paterson, is expected to appeal the decision to Rome.

Trials in the Catholic Church are closed-door hearings that typically are used to handle annulments. But after the child abuse crisis exploded three years ago, American bishops were left with scores of accusations against priests that were too old to be handled in the criminal justice system. The bishops approved a disciplinary process that allowed several layers of review and culminated in a trial.

If a priest is found guilty of abusing a minor, the bishops must either remove him from public ministry or defrock him.

Thompson declined comment on why the panel chose to remove Smith from ministry.

The accusations against him first surfaced in 2002, when a man came forward after years of silence to say Smith repeatedly molested him as a boy. The man subsequently sued in Superior Court, and the diocese settled the suit for an undisclosed sum.

Now 55 and living in California, the man said Smith lured him into a sexual relationship that began when he was 12 and ended when he was 15. The man said he was molested more than 100 times from 1962 to 1966.

At the time, Smith was serving in the Clifton and Paterson parishes.


Any original material on these pages is copyright © 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.
guide of business management sytem guide of job opinions guide of capital goods guide of make fast money guide of Debt restructuring guide of home business guide of income money guide of hospital products guide of international market guide of repair roof before winter guide of website income guide of secure your business guide of face makeup tools guide of jewellery arts guide of tv shows guide of best places on earth guide of job plans guide of cheap cars guide of creating products guide of women tools guide of eat less guide of car insurance process guide of sport stuff guide of garden home guide of cheap insurances guide of electronic tech guide of healthy feeding guide of what is next in fashion guide of improve company guide of tactical insurance guide of make money at home guide of development in business guide of dept loan guide of cooking secrets guide of correct companies guide of jobs with more income guide of reviews o general products guide of improving technology guide of ideal job guide of business sectors guide of dept problem guide of unlimited business guide of suitable insurance company guide of money cars guide of how to market guide of heatlhy diet tips guide of decoration tipse guide of security problems