Protest planned as newly ordained priest faces sex charges
By Rob Jennings
August 8, 2017
|Marcin Nurek following his arrest Aug. 3|
MORRISTOWN -- A priest accused of putting his hand under a teen girl's skirt and touching her buttocks, just a month after being ordained, is scheduled to appear in court Wednesday.
The Rev. Marcin Nurek, 37, was charged Thursday with endangering the welfare of a child and criminal sexual contact, and remains in the Morris County jail. The unidentified girl is described as older than 13 but younger than 16, and the assault allegedly happened in Boonton, officials said.
Nurek was ordained into the priesthood on July 1 and had been expected to start Aug. 15 as Parochial Vicar of Saint Catherine of Siena Church in Mountain Lakes, according to the Diocese of Paterson.
As a judge decides whether to free Nurek, a former Catholic priest plans to hold a protest outside the courtroom.
Ex-priest Robert Hoatson of West Orange said his group, "Road to Recovery," advocates for clergy sexual assault victims and will gather outside Superior Court.
Hoatson, 65, left the priesthood in 2011.
Last fall, he launched a campaign for governor as a Democrat before deciding not to get into the race.
He said the accusation against Nurek, a native of Poland who arrived in the U.S. two years ago, raises continued questions about the vetting of priests.
"What kind of training did he get? Was he supervised," Hoatson said.
Richard Sokerka, spokesman for the Diocese of Paterson, said Tuesday that Nurek passed an international criminal background check five months before arriving in the U.S.
Sokerka said Nurek completed the Diocese's Protecting God's Children educational program on April 9, 2015, one month after he signed the Diocesan Code of Pastoral Conduct.
Sokerka did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Hoatson's rally.
Judge Paul Armstrong will preside at the detention hearing.