Sex Suit against S. Jersey Priest Is Dismissed

Star-Ledger (Newark, New Jersey)
January 16, 2003

A Superior Court judge in Atlantic City dismissed a sexual abuse lawsuit filed against a priest after attorneys questioned the credibility of the accuser.

James J. Smith, 54, of Voorhees claimed Monsignor James McIntyre and two priests who have since died abused him between 1963 and 1966.

No other allegations have been made against McIntyre, who is pastor of the Church of the Holy Family, said Andrew Walton, spokesman for the Camden Diocese.

McIntyre could not be reached for comment.

Smith's case has been complicated because he admitted lying to church attorneys about his background and education.

Judge John Himmelberger Jr. said Monday he would have to contact prosecutors if Smith admitted lying under oath during his deposition.

With that warning, church attorneys questioned Smith, who responded by invoking his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.

Himmelberger then dismissed the case, along with complaints against the diocese and the two deceased priests, Dennis Rigney and Francis Fleming.

Smith's lawyer, Lewis Bornstein, said Smith's lies were caused by trauma from the alleged abuse, and that he exaggerated his credentials to cope.

The case was the only lawsuit alleging molestation by a priest active in the diocese.


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