Man Captured on Video Groping Teen Girl on New Jersey Street Is Newly Ordained Priest: Police
By Ida Siegal And Ray Villeda
NBC New York
August 8, 2017
Authorities say a newly ordained Roman Catholic priest in New Jersey has been charged with groping a teen girl under her skirt after surveillance video captured him allegedly following a group of girls and grabbing one of them.
Surveillance video obtained by News 4 shows a group of four girls walking down Main Street in Boonton, and then a man with a backpack comes from behind. He grabs the buttocks of one of the girls, then takes off down the street.
The 37-year-old man allegedly told the teenage girl she was "sexy," according to the Morris County prosecutor's office.
The girl told reported the incident to police, and the man with the backpack -- who turned out to be the Rev. Marcin Nurek -- was arrested on Essex Avenue about 20 minutes later, police say.
He's charged with endangering the welfare of a child and criminal sexual contact.
Nick Fernicola, who works across the street, said he saw the aftermath.
"Thursday afternoon I came out from my office and looked out the window and saw four young girls with the police, they looked all very upset," he said.
The Diocese of Paterson put Nurek on administrative leave. He remains in jail pending a detention hearing on Wednesday. It wasn't immediately known if he had an attorney to comment on his behalf.
Nurek is an immigrant from Poland who arrived in the U.S. in March 2015, and was ordained into the priesthood in July. He was scheduled to begin his assignment at St. Catherine of Siena this month; his assignment has since been terminated.
The Diocese of Paterson said that he had completed training regarding proper conduct with children and his international criminal background check in October 2014 was clear.
The arrest has sent shock waves through the community.
"It's like a gut punch," said business owner Peter Borbas. "Disturbing. Real disturbing."
Bob Hoatson, a former priest and victim of clergy abuse, plans to protest outside of Morristown's courthouse on Wednesday morning as Nurek faces a judge.