Protesters Call for Trenton Bishop's Resignation over Handling of Jackson Priest Who Sent Explicit Messages
By Brendan McGrath
Times of Trenton
October 1, 2013
|From left, Fred Marigliano, Bob Hoatson and Kevin Waldrip, all of Road to Recovery, Inc., participate in a demonstration on the sidewalk outside the headquarters of the Diocese of Trenton, New Jersey calling for the resignation or removal of Bishop David O'Connell. (Michael Mancuso/The Times)|
Protesters stood outside the offices of the Catholic Diocese of Trenton this morning to call for the resignation of Bishop David O’Connell for his handling of a priest who exchanged sexually explicit text messages with someone he thought was a 16-year-old boy.
Matthew Riedlinger, who was an assistant pastor at the St. Aloysius Church in Jackson, did not know he was actually communicating with a character created by Catholic University graduate Timothy Schmalz, who said the priest sexually harassed him in the past.
The diocese found out about Riedlinger’s behavior and removed him from his post, but waited more than a year to inform his parish why he had been removed.
Road to Recovery, an organization that assists victims of clergy sexual abuse, held a protest outside of the diocese headquarters in Lawrence this morning.
“We’re asking that Bishop O’Connell either resign or be removed because of his outrageous conduct relative to father Riedlinger,” said Robert Hoatson, president of Road to Recovery.
Hoatson called O’Connell’s inaction outrageous and a violation of the church’s Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.
“It’s clear that this man was a dangerous person,” Hoatson said. “This guy thought he was dealing with a 16-year-old boy.”
The diocese said in a statement last week that it informed the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office of Riedlinger’s behavior and that no criminal charges were filed.
Contact Brendan McGrath at (609) 989-5731 or firstname.lastname@example.org