Priest Sentenced for Assaults

United Press International
October 28, 1987

A Roman Catholic priest was sentenced Wednesday to 25 years in prison for sexually assaulting an altar boy and two other young students at a parochial school where he taught for 27 years.

The Rev. Richard Galdon, 54, pleaded guilty in March as part of an agreement in which prosecutors dropped charges that he sexually assaulted seven other boys, said Edward J. Bilinkas, first assistant prosecutor for Essex County.

Appearing before Superior Court Judge Sidney H. Reiss then, Galdon described having sex with one of the boys and fondling two others.

The incidents took place at an unidentified private home from between June 1981 and September 1985, Bilinkas said. Investigators learned of the assaults from a staff member at the church, he said.

"This is probably one of the most heinous cases I've ever personally been involved in," Bilinkas said. "He was a priest in a position of trust."

Galdon, appearing in a coat and tie without his priest's collar, made a short statement saying he was remorseful and willing to accept the judge's sentence.

Galdon was sentenced to 15 years for one count of first-degree sexual assault and 10 years, to run consecutively, on a second-degree count. A five-year sentence for another second-degree count will run concurrently.

Reiss ordered the priest immediately remanded to the Adult Diagnostic and Treatment Center in Avenel, a medium-security facility for adult male sex offenders. Prisoners sent to the center must be diagnosed as exhibiting "repetitive, compulsive, deviant sexual behavior," Bilinkas said.

Galdon had worked at the Church of Our Lady of Good Counsel in Newark and its parish school for 27 years before taking an administrative leave in February 1986. He was suspended from his duties as a priest when church officials learned of the charges this spring.

"The Archdiocese of Newark is still saddened by the events which led to this conclusion," diocese spokesman Mike Hurley said. " Father Richard Galdon's immediate future is up to competent medical and legal authorities who have been charged with his care. Our prayers are with all concerned."

Galdon had spent the last several months at Servants Paraclete, a treatment center for priests operated by the Catholic church in New Mexico.

Defense attorney Peter Manahan asked that Galdon be placed on probation and ordered to remain at the facility for a period equal to the length of his sentence. Reiss denied the request.

Bilinkas said a presentence report showed that Galdon's victims "have suffered extreme emotional damage as a result of this."

The prosecutor sought the 30-year maximum penalty for the charges but said he was satisfied with the 25 years handed down.


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