DYFS to Further Probe Case of Edison Priest
May 29, 2003
Father George Farrell, 42, parochial vicar in St. Matthew Parish, Edison, has taken a voluntary leave of absence from ministry due to allegations of "inappropriate communications" over the Internet between him and a minor.
According to Ronald C. Rak, general secretary for administrative and legal services, Father Farrell was among those clergy whose cases were recently investigated by the Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office and not charged. However, the office turned his case over to the state Division of Youth and Family Services, Rak said.
On May 19—the day Father Farrell's leave began—a letter from Bishop Paul G. Bootkoski was sent out to members of parishes where the priest served during his ministry.
"I know that Father George was a dedicated and caring priest . . . and I share your sorrow at this development," the bishop wrote. "I hope you will agree with me, however, that the importance of protecting our children must always be our first priority and that every allegation that a minor may have been harmed must be reported and investigated by the proper authorities."
Bishop Bootkoski noted that there are no allegations that Father Farrell "had inappropriate physical contact with a minor." He said it would be difficult to estimate "how long it will take before this matter is concluded."
Born in Philadelphia, Father Farrell served as a Brother of Charity for 12 years. Before entering the seminary, he worked as a religion teacher and campus minister in St. Peter High School, New Brunswick, and St. Pius X High School, Piscataway. He has also served as director of music in Our Lady of Victories Parish, Sayreville, and worked as an organist in Guardian Angels Parish, Edison.
Father Farrell entered the seminary in 1992 and was ordained in the diocese four years later. He was associate pastor of St. Matthias Parish, Somerset, and St. Peter Parish, New Brunswick, before being appointed parochial vicar in St. Matthew Parish in 1998.
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