Alleged Child Molester Was Living in St. Joseph's Rectory, Report Says
By Ann Piccirillo
July 21, 2013
Thomas1.png Rev. Thomas Iwanowski, Pastor of St. Joseph's, resigns amid allegations that he allowed a suspected child molester to take up residence at the rectory.
A priest removed from the ministry in 2004, after evidence supported allegations that he molested a teenaged boy over a three-year period during the 1970's, was living in the rectory of St. Joseph's Church in Oradell, according to a report published by the Star Ledger Sunday.
According to the report, Robert Chabak, 66, who had been living in his mother's Normandy beach house since 2004, was given permission to move into St. Joseph's rectory by the Newark Archidiocese and Rev. Thomas Iwanowski, Pastor of St. Joseph's, after the beach house was destroyed by Hurricane Sandy.
Jim Goodness, a spokesman for Archbishop John. J. Myers, told the Star Ledger, the archdiocese allowed Chabak to move into St. Joseph's rectory "out of a sense of compassion."
However, the report states that no one had informed the parishioners of St. Joseph's about this arrangement, therefore, "knowingly putting the children at risk."
According to the report, Chabak was never criminally charged because the statute of limitations had expired. However, the archdiocese found "sufficient information to begin a canonical process," according to Goodness.
Chabak was not completely removed from the priesthood, although he is not allowed to wear his collar or represent himself as a priest.
When parishioners discovered Chabak's background they pressured the Archdiocese for his removal, and he was transferred to a retirement home for priests in Rutherford.
Still, Chabak made repeated visits to St. Joseph's to visit his friend, Iwanowski. The report says that voter registration records reveal that he shares the Normandy beach house with Iwanowski.