|N.J. Catholic Diocese Settles with Former Altar Boys Allegedly Abused by Late Priest Ronald Becker
By Alicia Cruz
New Jersey Newsroom
August 17, 2011
Five men who once served as altar boys at Incarnation Church in Ewing have been awarded a seven-figure settlement in a sex abuse case involving a now deceased Roman Catholic Priest.
The Catholic Diocese of Trenton released a statement confirming the $1 million settlement, which contains no liability or admission of guilt by the diocese, and stating that the allegations against Becker were "found to be credible." Each of the victims will receive $200,000 from the diocese and split $25,000 for therapeutic services.
The victim's say the abuse occurred during the 1970s and lasted through 1984. One of the men came forward in 2008 after reading a Star-Ledger article about Becker molesting his own niece from age 5 through age 11. Becker's niece, Jenni Franz, said the late Priest confessed to her that he began sexually abusing her when she was merely an infant. The confession was recorded for police, NJ.com reported.
Becker was later arrested at his Helmetta home in 2007 following a month-long investigation by the Jamesburg Police Department and the Middlesex County prosecutor's office Sex Crimes/Child Abuse Unit. Franz said much of the sexual abuse occurred at her home in Jamesburg, according to accountability.org.
Becker, who died in January 2009, served in parishes throughout Trenton from 1973 to 1989, when Bishop John Reiss removed him from parish assignments all together. In 2002, Becker was officially barred from actively serving in the church following other credible complaints the diocese received.
One of the victims involved in this settlement said Becker assaulted him 150 times at the church, and on trips to Washington, D.C., and other places. According to their lawyer, Becker referred to the abuse as a “physical act that would show the love of God,” the NewsInferno reported. Mitchell Garabedian, the attorney representing the victims, called Becker a sexual deviant who stole his client’s childhood. “Father Becker knew no boundaries,” said the Boston based attorney who added that Becker did not care about children.
The diocese's website states the organization is committed to the initiatives outlined in the U.S. Bishop's Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People in regard to the reporting and investigation of sexual abuse allegations involving minors by a member of the clergy or anyone representing the Catholic Church, or if you know of someone who was.
You can make a report through the diocesan Abuse Hotline at 1-888-296-2965 or contact the diocese at firstname.lastname@example.org . To learn more about how to help victims of sexual abuse contact the New Jersey Coalition against Sexual Assault in Trenton at (800) 601-7200 or visit their web site http://www.njcasa.org.
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