Priest charged with groping teenage girl appears in court in New Jersey
By Toni Yates
August 09, 2017
MORRISTOWN, New Jersey (WABC) --
Authorities say a newly ordained Roman Catholic priest in New Jersey has been charged with groping a teen girl under her skirt.
38-year-old Father Marcin Nurek came into court in handcuffs, and stood next to his attorney, who has a gazillion doubts about this case.
"My sense is that something doesn't smell right," William Ware, Nurek's attorney.
He says Nurek, of Poland, dreamed all his life of becoming a priest.
"The whole allegation is bizarre. He doesn't know this person, he has no history of this," Ware said.
Nurek was ordained July 1st. He's been accused by a 13-year-old girl of putting his hands up her skirt last Thursday, and calling her sexy as she walked down Main Street in Boonton.
Security camera video catches an encounter similar to what the child told police.
They picked up Father Nurek less than a half hour later in the same area.
"The defendant was arrested and interviewed," police said. "He self admits to touching her on the buttocks."
That's raising alarms to Nurek's attorney.
"I think the 800-pound gorilla in the room is that he gave a statement and he doesn't speak English," Ware said. "Did anyone mention an interpreter?"
Wednesday's appearance was to decide if Nurek should remain in jail. The prosecutor said "yes."
"We do believe he remains a risk to the community, this was assault of a child," said Meg Rodriguez, Assistant Prosecutor.
But even though his priestly duties have been suspended, and Father Nurek can no longer live at St. Catherine of Siena Church in Mountain Lakes, where he was assigned, the Diocese of Paterson, says his attorney, will accept responsibility for him to stay at a secluded monastery in Chester.
"It will be a good environment for him," Ware said.
The judge agreed with conditions.
"They include surrender of passport, cannot be moved out of the state," said Judge Alexander, of Morris County Superior Court.
The priest must not have any contact with children.
Opponents who came to court disagreed, especially a former Catholic priest who now works with victims of church sex abuse.
"With this priest in the woods, who will supervise? He should have an electronic monitor," said Dr. Robert Hoatson, of Road to Recovery.
Father Nurek's attorney believes there's much more to this than anything that's come out so far.
"I'm going to follow the scent, see where my nose takes me," Ware said.