Newark Archdiocese: Monsignor Steps Aside Amid Sex-abuse Inquiry
By Jeff Green
October 6, 2014
|Monsignor George Trabold speaking at the Millburn Fire Department during a commemoration of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.|
A long-time pastor has stepped down from ministry while the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Newark investigates an allegation of child sexual abuse stemming from his work at a borough parish 40 years ago.
An archdiocesan representative announced the allegation against Monsignor George Trabold during Sunday services at St. John the Baptist in Bergenfield and at St. Rose of Lima in Millburn, where he has been pastor for the past 16 years.
Jim Goodness, a spokesman for the archdiocese, did not provide details about the complaint, except that it was received “recently” and that the abuse was alleged to have happened “many years ago.” The report was forwarded to the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office and is being examined by an archdiocesan review board, he said.
The review board will determine the credibility of the allegation and make a recommendation to Archbishop John J. Myers about whether Trabold should be permanently removed from ministry.
Trabold was assigned to St. John following his ordination as a priest in 1973. He served there nearly five years and later returned when he was appointed the parish pastor in 1994.
The Reverend Thomas Nydegger, the archdiocese’s vicar general and second-in-command to Myers, read a statement about the allegation during the Sunday services and announced that the Reverend Chris Beirne would be temporary administrator at St. Rose of Lima.
Beirne said Monday that the announcement shocked him and the parishioners.
“I was hit right between the eyes, knew nothing, understood nothing, expected nothing,” he said. “Even temporarily, it’s a great loss.”
Beirne said Trabold is known for his outgoing and compassionate approach to the priesthood and is seen as a “wonderful, joyful and spiritual holy guy.”
Trabold was a key fundraiser for the archdiocese, serving for nearly a decade, from 1988 to 1997, as former Archbishop Theodore McCarrick’s secretary for development. In 1997, he was appointed chairman of the archdiocese’s development committee.
Trabold did not respond to an email seeking comment Monday.
Bergen County Prosecutor John Molinelli also did not respond to an email on the matter.