'My Career Is Ruined,' Suspended Teacher Says

By Tom Namako
Press of Atlantic City [New Jersey]
November 8, 2005

BUENA VISTA TOWNSHIP-Frank Hudson is waiting, waiting for St. Augustine Prep and law-enforcement officials to conclude investigations into alleged sexual misconduct 30 years ago.

In the meantime, though, he said he's suffering.

"My career is ruined," Hudson, 61, said in the offices of Hudson Associates on Monday, where he is a certified drug and alcohol counselor. He believes the media has already convicted him in the court of public opinion. He's upset that members of the local press are photographing his Vineland home.

Hudson was never charged last year when accusations of abusing a student at St. Mary's Parish in Gloucester City, in 1975, were made. Since statutes of limitations have expired, it's unlikely Hudson could ever be charged for the allegations.

In his office, Hudson stressed that he is innocent until proved guilty.

Thirteen parents who gathered Monday to watch an afternoon football game at the campus of St. Augustine Prep in the Richland section of Buena Vista Township declined to comment or give their names when commenting on the situation. A slight majority expressed support for the school's decision to remove Hudson, while others said the accusations don't jibe with Hudson's role as a trusted counselor at the school.

Camden Diocese spokesman Andrew Walton said prosecutor's offices in Camden, Atlantic and Cumberland counties are involved in an investigation. First Assistant Cumberland County Prosecutor Kenneth Pagliughi did not comment on the case, and Atlantic County Prosecutor Jeffrey S. Blitz did not return a phone call. Also, two calls to St. Augustine Prep president, the Rev. Paul Galetto, were not returned.

Hudson has spoken publicly about his past experience with alcohol abuse. He was formerly an adjunct in the social services department at Cumberland County College.

In a 2003 Press article, Hudson said that at one point he had hit "rock bottom," but later dedicated his life to getting an education and counseling others.

Before being hired at St. Augustine, Hudson was "suspended without priestly faculties" - meaning he could not present himself as a priest. The diocese requested that Hudson would voluntarily be defrocked but he refused.

The suspension came after he took a leave of absence from the priesthood in 2001 and never told the Camden Diocese of any intention to return, Walton said.

Whether or not Hudson will be formally defrocked has been referred to the Vatican, which Walton said "could take some time" before a determination is made.

The diocese objected twice in about a year to St. Augustine Prep's hiring Hudson part time and later full time as a religion teacher and counselor.

The Augustinian order, not the diocese, oversees the school and its hiring policies. When asked why the school chose to hire Hudson despite the diocese's objections, Michael Dolan, a spokesman for the Augustinian order, said, "the school chose to employ Mr. Hudson because the allegation against him was believed to be unsubstantiated."

That changed when the accusation later developed what Walton called Monday "a threshold of credibility."

Hudson maintains his innocence.


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