Priest in NJ, former prep school chaplain, charged with endangering students

Catholic News Agency

October 5, 2020

Fr. Salvatore DiStefano, a former boys’ prep school chaplain in New Jersey, was charged Thursday with use of children to commit a crime, and child endangerment.

“I want to recognize Attorney General Grewal’s Clergy Abuse Task Force and our Special Victims Unit for exhaustively and professionally investigating this case. The conduct unearthed by our investigative team represents an egregious and total betrayal of trust by a person who was supposed to be helping young men, not hurting them; conduct that might have gone unchecked but for their efforts,” acting Union County prosecutor Lyndsay Ruotolo said Oct. 1.

Fr. DiStefano, 61, was chaplain of Oratory Preparatory School in Summit, N.J., 13 miles west of Newark, until he was suspended in January during the investigation. He had been chaplain at the school since at least 2012.

He was charged with five counts of second-degree use of a juvenile to commit a crime and six counts of third-degree endangering the welfare of a child.

The prosecutor’s office said his behavior had threatened the welfare of six students at Oratory Prep.

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