Little Egg Harbor Priest Accused of Sexual Abuse Dies

By Stephanie Loder
Press of Atlantic City
February 12, 2015

The Rev. Terence McAlinden, former pastor at St. Theresa Church in Little Egg Harbor Township who was removed from ministry in 2007 amid allegations of sexual abuse, has died, the Diocese of Trenton said Tuesday.

McAlinden died Feb. 6.

The diocese declined to release information about his death, according to a statement from the diocese.

“I can confirm that Fr. Terence McAlinden died on February 6, 2015. Prior to his death he had requested that there be no obituary and no funeral Mass. The Diocese is respecting his requests,” said Rayanne Bennett, a spokeswoman for Bishop David M. O’Connell.

McAlinden was the pastor at St. Theresa’s when he was removed from the ministry by the diocese after Chris Naples, 39, of Bass River Township, reported that he was molested by McAlinden for several years.

McAlinden then worked as a real estate agent in Brigantine. While on administrative leave from the church, McAlinden could not present himself publically as a priest.

In 2011, with St. Theresa's Roman Catholic Church as the backdrop for a press conference, a group of men said that as children, they were sexually abused by McAlinden.

Two men say they were abused

The press conference was organized by the Rev. Robert Hoatson, co-founder and president of Road to Recovery Inc., a group that advocates and provides support to victims of clergy abuse.

The crowd of supporters and other victims of clergy abuse held signs saying they were survivors, “Defrock McAlinden” and “Children Must Have a Voice.”

Patrick Newcombe, 43, of North Carolina and Naples said at the press conference they remembered meeting each other on one occasion while one was leaving after spending time with McAlinden and the other was just arriving.

Naples, who also attended the press conference, said the diocese told him that his was the only allegation ever reported against McAlinden. Naples said he could not say much about the details of his allegations because of pending litigation in a lawsuit he filed against McAlinden.

But Newcombe said he reported allegations of sexual abuse by McAlinden to the director of priest personnel for the Diocese of Trenton. Newcombe said he was raped by McAlinden.

Newcombe said he signed a confidential settlement agreement in 1992 with the diocese that included a monetary settlement and confidentiality clause that prohibits him from discussing the abuse to anyone at any time or for any reason. He said he was no longer bound by the terms of the settlement agreement because the type of agreements weree now illegal.

Bob Markulic, 56, said he was a 14-year-old altar boy when the abuse by McAlinden started in the late 1960s. Markulic said he was sexually abused at the Our Lady of Victory rectory in Sayreville, Middlesex County.

In a previous statement, the diocese said:

“The case against Father McAlinden has been reviewed by the Diocese and instruction has been elicited from the Holy See for possible canonical action, which could include an ecclesiastical trial and permanent removal from the clerical state, (also known as laicization), in which Father McAlinden would cease to be a priest.”

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