Clifton Priest Put on Leave
Misconduct Accusation to Be Probed

By John Chadwick
The Record
October 20, 2004

The Paterson Diocese said Tuesday that it has placed a Clifton priest on leave while it investigates an accusation of misconduct with a minor.

A spokeswoman for the Catholic diocese said the allegation against the Rev.

Andrew T. Perretta of Sacred Heart Church dates back more than 20 years, and first came to the attention of the diocese in 1996.

The allegation was reviewed once by the diocese and twice by the Passaic County Prosecutor's Office, the spokeswoman said. Perretta was not charged with a crime and has continued working as a priest.

The matter was considered closed until Bishop Arthur J. Serratelli began reviewing all of the cases involving diocesan priests.

"The bishop had a clear and present concern and removed the priest," spokeswoman Marianna Thompson said.

The accusation will now go to a review board made up of clergy and lay people who must decide whether there is probable cause to refer the matter to Rome.

Perretta, 56, was ordained in 1974 and served at St. Mary's Church in Paterson before moving to Sacred Heart.

The diocese also said Tuesday that it had reviewed an unrelated accusation of sexual abuse against the pastor of Sacred Heart, the Rev. Julian B. Varettoni, and had concluded there was insufficient evidence to pursue disciplinary proceedings. The allegation dates back 48 years, Thompson said.


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