Local priest accused of child sex abuse in New Jersey


February 28, 2019

By Sam Smink

A former priest from Boca Raton is accused of abusing a minor while serving as a priest in New Jersey.

Earlier this month, the Diocese of Paterson, New Jersey released a list of 28 priests they found to have credible accusations of sexual abuse against minors.

Father John Sutton, once a priest at Saint Joan of Arc in Boca, was on that list. Here is a list of all 28 priests: https://rcdop.org/list

Officials from the Diocese of Paterson, New Jersey, tell me the abuse allegation against Father John Sutton came into their office in 2005.

The victim told investigators they had been abused as a minor, by Sutton, 29 years before that, in the 70s.

According to a diocese lawyer, Father Sutton went on a leave of absence from the Diocese of Paterson in 1979. In 2000, he asked if he could resign and join the Diocese of Palm Beach instead.

Father Sutton officially joined the Diocese of Palm Beach in January 2000, according to Paterson records, and Sutton’s family says he served at Saint Joan of Arc in Boca Raton. He passed away in August of 2000.

The Diocese of Paterson, New Jersey says it investigated the abuse claim in 2005, along with their local prosecutor’s office, and found the accusation to be credible.

Contact 5 spoke to his sister Margaret by phone. She says she thinks the church is out of line for releasing his name after his death.

“I know my brother, he did not do anything like that. It besmirches his name and he cannot defend himself,” said Margaret.

The bishop in Paterson said they released the names in an effort to promote healing for all victims of child sexual abuse.

We emailed and called the Diocese of Palm Beach multiple times to see if they would provide a statement regarding the accusation. They have not responded.

Earlier this month, we also asked the Diocese of Palm Beach if they would release a similar list of all priests with credible claims of abuse , like more than 112 other dioceses have done. They told Contact 5 “no response.”

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