2nd Claim of Abuse
Man Says: Monsignor Molested Me
By Jason Del
Jersey Journal [Hudson County NJ]
September 19, 2005
A month after a 36-year-old man's allegations of past sexual abuse led to the resignation of a Bayonne monsignor, a second man has come forward with similar charges, The Jersey Journal has learned.
Raymond Capone, 40, of South Plainfield, contacted the Archdiocese of Newark last week to allege an incident of molestation dating back to the early- to mid-1980s, Capone and an archdiocesan spokesman said.
Monsignor Peter Cheplic, who voluntarily left his post at St. Henry's Church in Bayonne last month, was previously accused by Joe Capozzi of Manhattan of molestation in the 1980s.
St. Henry's parishioners learned about the situation on Aug. 28 when a priest read a statement issued by the archdiocese.
In an interview with The Jersey Journal, Capone said he visited the priest at Holy Spirit/Our Lady Help of Christians in East Orange between 1982 and 1985.
They had dinner together dozens of times but once when they returned to the rectory, Cheplic made advances after pouring them both several glasses of wine, Capone said.
"I had some wine and got drunk or tipsy or drowsy and I told him that I felt like I couldn't drive," Capone said. "He gave me a pillow and I laid down on a gymnastic-type mat. . The next thing I know, I wake up and my clothes have been removed and he's on all fours hovering over me."
Cheplic was fondling him when he awoke, Capone said.
Capone left and never contacted the priest again, he said.
The married father of one said he never spoke of it until 1991 or 1992 when he told his bride-to-be, parents, siblings and close friends. Still, he said, he forgave the priest and did not go the archdiocese or press earlier because, in his mind, it could not outweigh all the mentoring and guidance Cheplic had given him.
"I isolated it only to me and nobody else. Because of all the good, I couldn't let that moment erase all that," he said he thought at the time.
That changed when allegations surfaced in 2002 and again a few weeks ago when Capone read of Capozzi's allegations against Cheplic.
"It was necessary for me to come out so other people realize this man for what he is," Capone said. "I want to make sure he can't hide behind that black shirt anymore, can't hide behind that white collar and can't hide behind the title monsignor."
The latest claims against Cheplic come about a month after Capozzi went to the archdiocese with charges that the same priest molested him on several occasions between 1985 and 1987 at Holy Spirit/Our Lady Help of Christians and St. Joseph of the Palisades in West New York. Capozzi told The Jersey Journal last week that Cheplic also molested him in the summer of 1987 on a trip to Australia and attempted to unbuckle his pants in 1992 in the priest's living quarters at St. Aloysius in Jersey City.
The archdiocese investigated another allegation made against Cheplic in 2002, when Cheplic was at St. Aloysius, but determined it "did not warrant removal" because it did not involve a minor, according to James Goodness, spokesman for Archbishop John J. Myers.
Cheplic could not be reached for comment.
Cheplic, ordained in 1972, also worked at St. Lawrence Church in Weehawken.
Any original material on these pages is copyright © BishopAccountability.org 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.