Ex-Priest Charged in Sex Assault of Family Member

By Gina Vergel
Ashbury Park Press
March 29, 2007

Helmetta — A borough resident and former Catholic priest was arrested Wednesday on charges he sexually assaulted a girl 20 years ago from the time she was 3 until age 7, authorities said.

Ronald Becker, 62, a former priest with the Diocese of Trenton who also had ties to the Diocese of Metuchen, was picked up Wednesday at his Raintree Court residence by members of the Jamesburg Police Department and the Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office Sex Crimes/Child Abuse Unit.

Becker, who is involved with several Jamesburg civic groups, is charged with sexual assault as a result of an investigation that began Feb. 23 involving a female family member who reported Becker fondled her on multiple occasions from the ages of 3 to 7, according to a prepared statement by the Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office.

Many of these incidents occurred in a family residence in Jamesburg, the report said.

The victim is now 26 years old and resides with her family in Florida. According to the prosecutor's office statement, neither the victim nor her immediate family were parishioners of a church to which Becker was assigned.

Becker was ordained as a Roman Catholic priest in 1973 with his last assignment to the Diocese of Trenton and has not had a parish assignment since 1989, according to a prepared statement issued by the Trenton Diocese.

Rayanne Bennett, diocese spokeswoman, declined to comment on which diocese parishes or schools Becker may have served and referred to a written statement, released late Wednesday afternoon.

"In 2002, based on credible complaints, Bishop John M. Smith removed Ronald Becker's priestly faculties, meaning that he was barred from ministry, could not present himself as a priest, and was not permitted to wear priestly garb," the statement said. "Ronald Becker's name was turned over to the prosecutor's office and was reported in the media at that time.

"The Diocese will cooperate fully with the current investigation."


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