Diocese of Metuchen Places the Rev. Gregory Uhrig on Leave

By Stephen J. Novak
The Express-Times
October 13, 2010

A Roman Catholic priest who heads a parish in New Jersey was placed on leave last week after allegations arose that he sexually abused a minor 30 years ago while working in the Diocese of Allentown, church officials said Tuesday.

The Rev. Gregory Uhrig, 63, pastor of St. Luke's Roman Catholic Church in North Plainfield, N.J., served at St. Anthony of Padua parish in Easton from 1978 to 1982 before moving on to St. Ursula's in Fountain Hill in February 1982.

The Diocese of Metuchen said it learned of the decades-old allegations after being notified recently by the Diocese of Allentown.

Allentown Diocese spokesman Matt Kerr said the diocese contacted Metuchen officials and Pennsylvania law enforcement authorities of the allegations against Uhrig.

Kerr said he didn't know in which parish the misconduct was alleged to have occurred.

"Someone came forward to us a couple of months ago," Kerr said.

Metuchen Bishop Paul G. Bootkoski explained Uhrig's removal to parishioners of the Somerset County parish in an Oct. 9 letter.

He said Uhrig denies the allegations.

"This action was taken inasmuch as church law requires that a priest be removed from ministry as a precautionary measure when an allegation of sexual abuse has been deemed to have a semblance of truth," Bootkoski said in the letter.

According to the letter, law enforcement officials in Pennsylvania did not pursue charges because the statute of limitations had expired.

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