Diocese Pays $325,000 in Sex Abuse Case

Times of Trenton
November 24, 2009

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Trenton has paid $325,000 to a 32-year-old woman who says she was sexually assaulted by a former diocesan priest, the late Rev. Ron Becker who was pastor of Incarnation Church in the 1970s and 1980s.

Jenni Franz said Becker, who was also her uncle, assaulted her in various locations on the Ewing church grounds and at other churches Becker was associated with.

In a lawsuit, Franz said Becker, who died in January, molested her more than 100 times from when she was 5 until she was 11.

Some of the assaults took place at the Precious Blood Parish in Monmouth Beach where Becker served as pastor from 1986 to 1989. Others occurred later at St. Francis of Assium Church in Trenton, where Becker lived while working at diocese headquarters.

"Every church he worked at, there was abuse that took place," said Franz, now a pediatric speech language pathologist living in Florida.

Franz filed criminal charges against Becker in 2007. He was indicted for sexual assault but died before the case was resolved.

In the civil suit, filed in March, Franz charged Becker, the diocese and several of its churches with misconduct, gross negligence, and deliberating creating and permitting "an environment of secrecy" to "minimize disgrace and scandal."

Franz and her attorneys announced the out-of-court settlement yesterday at a press conference outside diocese headquarters in Lawrence.

"A part of me is glad there's some closure. At least somebody was found responsible," said Franz. "But at the end of the day, it's a small amount of money for not having a childhood."

In a written statement, the diocese confirmed the settlement.


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