Delaware Lawsuit Claims Abuse by Former Ocean County Priest

By Stephanie Loder
Asbury Park Press
February 23, 2011

The Rev. Terence O. McAlinden

LITTLE EGG HARBOR A man whose 2007 sexual abuse lawsuit against the Diocese of Trenton was dismissed in New Jersey is pressing a second suit, filed in Delaware, alleging a diocesan priest took him across state lines as a juvenile to have sex.

In the Delaware suit, filed in April 2009, Chris Naples, 39, of Bass River, alleges abuse by the Rev. Terence O. McAlinden, a Catholic priest in the Diocese of Trenton, according to Thomas Crumplar, the victim's attorney. The Diocese of Trenton and St. Theresa Church here were named, but they were dismissed from the lawsuit, he said.

According to the Delaware lawsuit, Naples suffered at least 200 acts of sexual abuse, most in New Jersey but many on the beaches of Delaware on different dates from 1985 to 1996. The complaint states McAlinden was employed by the Diocese of Trenton as an active priest from 1967 until 2007.

McAlinden, who was Naples' pastor here, introduced him to his wife and baptized his children, was removed from ministry in 2007 after Naples brought his allegations to the attention of the diocese and the Ocean County Prosecutor's Office the same year. The Prosecutor's Office has no active investigation against McAlinden.

The active lawsuit contends the Diocese of Trenton knew about McAlinden's abuse and trips to Delaware at times taking the Cape May Lewes Ferry to Christian Youth Organization events but did nothing to stop it.

Crumplar said he anticipates taking depositions from McAlinden and his supervisors in the diocese in the next two to three months. But the diocese has ignored his requests for information about the supervisors, he said.

The diocese, however, denies withholding any information.

"We recently received a letter from Mr. Naple's attorney asking for information from Father McAlinden's file. We will comply with his request in accord with the Delaware rules of court," said Rayanne Bennett, a spokeswoman for the diocese.

The lawsuit filed in Delaware additionally alleges McAlinden was employed recklessly, despite the fact that the defendants "had prior knowledge that he was a child molester."


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