Complaint Alleges Sex Abuse by Former Spring Lake Priest

By Graelyn Brashear
Asbury Park Press
July 22, 2009

The Diocese of Trenton has been named in a civil complaint alleging sexual abuse by a priest in Spring Lake more than 35 years ago.

The complaint accuses a Rev. John O'Donoghue of sexual abuse during his ministry at St. Catharine's Church and St. Margaret's Church, both part of St. Catharine Parish in Spring Lake, from 1972 to 1974, said diocese spokesman Steven Emery.

Emery said the diocese has no record of a priest named John O'Donoghue working in the parish in the 1970s; however, a Rev. Charles O'Donoghue served there from 1969 to 1975, he said.

Emery said the diocese received a letter notifying it of the complaint on July 10, but said he did not know if the complaint had been formally filed with the courts.

In 2002, the diocese received a letter alleging sexual abuse by the Rev. Charles O'Donoghue, Emery said. The Diocese turned over the 2002 complaint to the Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office when it was received, Emery said, and has done the same with the most recent complaint.

According to a press release issued by the Diocese, the Rev. Charles O'Donoghue was a member of a religious order based in Ireland known as the Irish Spritans. He returned to Ireland in 1975, Emery said, and the Diocese believes he died in 1986.


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