Vatican investigated priest

By Kevin Kearney
Wayne Independent
December 11, 2016

[with video]

A Roman Catholic priest recently charged in a child pornography case in Wayne County had been vetted by the Vatican 13 years ago on accusations he molested a 16-year-old boy in New Jersey, the Archdiocese of Newark confirmed Tuesday.

The Rev. Kevin Gugliotta, 54, currently in the Wayne County prison on $1 million bail on 40 counts of possessing and disseminating child pornography at his Lehigh Township vacation home, was suspended from ministry in New Jersey in 2003 after the accusations were made he had molested the boy.

Gugliotta was ordained in 1996 and the alleged molestation happened prior to that, in the 1980s, said Jim Goodness, spokesman for the Archdiocese of Newark.

Since Gugliotta was not in ministry at the time of the alleged molestations, the archdiocese referred the case to the Vatican for guidance, Goodness said.

The Vatican ruled that church law, otherwise known as canon law, prevented Gugliotta from being punished for something he was accused of as a layperson, Goodman said, noting how the molestation allegations also were forwarded to law enforcement but never prosecuted.

Gugliotta in 2004 was reinstated free of restrictions on his ministry, and her served as a chaplain to a youth group.

When asked if the archdiocese should have precluded Gugliotta from having duties that included overseeing children, Goodness said, "The problem was … we could not impose a penalty. We have to be guided by (canon law)."

Gugliotta was charged in Wayne County in October after being accused of downloading and sharing images and videos of children involved in sex acts from a computer at his part-time residence at 108 Third Street in Gouldsboro.

The archdiocese removed him from ministry at the time of the arrest, and said there were no allegations the priest may have engaged in similar activities in New Jersey.

At the time of his arrest the priest had been assigned to Holy Spirit Roman Catholic Church in Union, N.J.

Gugliotta is scheduled to appear in Central Court at 9 a.m. Dec. 14 in Honesdale, where defendants typically either request or waive preliminary hearings.



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