Two More NJ Predator Priests “outed”
September 6, 2013
Two credibly accused New Jersey predator priests have been publicly exposed for the first time this week. Settlements involving the two, plus a third accused local priest, were also disclosed. In each case, the news came from alleged victims and attorneys, not Catholic officials.
Accusations against Fr. John P. Nickas first surfaced publicly in May. But until this week, no one knew of the allegations against Fr. Victor Phelan and Fr. Vincent Inghilterra.
At a news conference in Boston, attorney Mitchell Garabedian revealed that he represents child sex abuse victims of each cleric and that church officials paid them settlements.
Fr. Inghilterra and Fr. Nickas are diocesan priests, in Trenton and Newark, respectively. Fr. Phelan is with a Catholic religious order called the Society of Missionaries of Africa but he worked at least one year (1977) in Plainfield in the Newark archdiocese, according to the Official Catholic Directory.
SNAP director David Clohessy had harsh words for Newark’s Archbishop Myers.
“Given all the controversy over Myers’ irresponsibility in the Fr. Michael Fugee case, Myers--more than any bishop--should be forthcoming when he gets or resolves a clergy child sex case,” Clohessy said. “But Myers refuses to reform in even the smallest, simplest way. We strongly suspect that Myers has kept silent about the accusations against Fr. Nickas and Fr. Phelan for months.”
Trenton Bishop David M. O'Connell also came under fire from SNAP.
“O'Connell has kept silent for at least three months about accusations against Fr. Inghilterra, even though he deemed the charges ‘credible’ back in May,” said Barbara Dorris, SNAP outreach director. “He has apparently done nothing to disclose four important things: the accusation against Inghilterra, the determination that the allegation is ‘credible,’ Inghilterra’s suspension, or the settlement with his victim. Shame on O’Connell and every one of his staff and church members who knew about this child molesting cleric and kept quiet.”
“Catholics and citizens should demand answers from both bishops about their reckless secrecy that continue to keep kids in harm’s way,” Clohessy said. “We also hope that police, prosecutors and lawmakers take note that the New Jersey Catholic hierarchy persists in hiding the names of credibly accused child molesters.”
On Wednesday, the Associated Press reported that Inghilterra “was chaplain at Trenton State Teachers College when he allegedly abused a minor in the 1970s.” In May, Trenton Catholic officials found the charge against Fr. Inghilterra credible and suspended him.
According to BishopAccountability.org, “in May 2013, Nickas was accused publicly of having sexually abused an altar boy at St. Rocco's from 1970-1972, beginning when the boy was 8 years old. Nickas' accuser said the priest plied him with altar wine before sexually assaulting him in the church and in the rectory. He also said that Nickas threatened to hurt his family and that he would be punished by God if he told anyone about the abuse.”
According to the Official Catholic Directory, Nickas worked at the following Newark parishes: St. Patrick’s (1967-69), St. Ann’s (1972-77) and twice at St. Rocco’s (1969-72 and 1977-79). He was also assigned to Blessed Sacrament in Franklin Lakes (1966-67) and St. Peter Claver’s in Montclair (1997-2004). Nickas retired in 2005 and passed away in 2008.
Attorney Garabedian (email@example.com), who represented victims of the three clerics, has handled hundreds of child sex abuse and cover-up lawsuits over the past two decades.
Last month, SNAP disclosed that three additional credibly accused clerics abused elsewhere and worked in New Jersey but have attracted no public attention in the state. They are Fr. Eusebio Pantoja and Fr. Rubin V. Abaya (who both worked at parishes in Perth Amboy) and Fr. Joseph B. DiPeri (who worked in five New Jersey cities).
For more information:
David Clohessy 314-566-9790 cell, SNAPclohessy@aol.com
Barbara Dorris 314-862-7688 home, 314-503-0003 cell, SNAPdorris@gmail.com
Mark Crawford 732-632-7687, firstname.lastname@example.org