He's Done As Priest
Cheplic Resigns, and Sex Probe Goes No Farther

By Jason Del Rey
The Jersey Journal
March 21, 2006

A priest accused of sexual misconduct who served at four Hudson County parishes has retired and the Archdiocese of Newark has ended its investigation into the allegations, a spokesman said yesterday.

Monsignor Peter Cheplic, 60, who most recently worked at St. Henry's Church in Bayonne, retired "with no faculties," meaning he can never again work as a priest, said Archdiocese spokesman Jim Goodness.

An exception could be made if there is an emergency in which someone is dying and Cheplic is the only one who could hear confession or perform a baptism, Goodness said.

An announcement of the retirement was printed this past weekend in churches where Cheplic worked. He had been on temporary leave since August.

According to the announcement, Cheplic "still maintains his innocence" and "felt that by removing himself from the ministry, he could encourage everyone to begin to heal from this ordeal."

Cheplic retired earlier this month, six months after the first of three men went public with accusations of sexual misconduct against him.

He will continue to be paid by the Archdiocese, though Goodness would not say how much or for how long, characterizing the money as "a support payment."

Goodness refused to say whether Cheplic was asked to step down.

Attempts to reach Cheplic have been unsuccessful.

The retirement ends what could have been a lengthy investigation and a referral of the matter to Vatican authorities. The Archdiocese Review Board recently recommended to Archbishop John J. Myers that he do just that.

Goodness said yesterday that the review board's recommendation, which came after interviews with Cheplic's three accusers, meant board members felt there was "reason to go forward" with further investigation. Because Cheplic is retired, however, that will not happen.


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