Catholic Priest Named by Diocese of Metuchen in Sexual Abuse List No Longer Works at Monmouth Medical Center
By Nick Muscavage
February 15, 2019
A former priest, named earlier this week by the Diocese of Metuchen in a list of clergymen credibly accused of child sexual abuse, is no longer employed by a Central Jersey hospital.
Mark Dolak, who's been accused by a former Fords woman among others, no longer works for Monmouth Medical Center, a RWJBarnabas spokesperson said Friday.
|Mark Dolak, a former priest credibly accused of child sexual abuse, no longer works at Monmouth Medical Center in Long Branch. (Photo11: ~File)|
Dolak was employed as an acute care family support specialist.
Ellen L. Greene, vice president of Strategic Corporate Communications for RWJBarnabas Health, did not confirm what led to Dolak's departure or the date he left the position.
The Diocese of Metuchen, along with the state's four other Catholic dioceses, released lists of credibly accused clergymen on Wednesday.
"We know the release of these names may inspire others who have been abused to come forward," Bishop James Checchio, head of the Metuchen Diocese, said in a statement following the list's release. "This in fact would be a healthy outcome, as we seek to live in the light."
|Susan Bisaha discusses her experiences of sexual abuse at the hands of a Catholic priest. (Photo11: Mike Deak/Staff Photo)|
My Central Jersey published a story about accusations made against Dolak last summer.
Susan Bisaha stepped forward with claims against Dolak after she learned of Cardinal Theodore McCarrick's suspension for sexual abuse allegations.
McCarrick, who was the first bishop of Metuchen before rising to the rank of Cardinal, had oversight of the diocese at the time Bisaha said she was repeatedly abused by Dolak from 1979 to 1987.
Bisaha, born in 1966, was 13 when the alleged abuse began. It wouldn’t come to an end until she was in her early 20s, she said.
Dolak was born Aug. 2, 1952 and ordained in 1979, according to the Diocese of Metuchen.
He was removed from the diocese after he had multiple accusations of child sexual abuse made against him. Before his removal, however, Dolak was shifted around several times in the diocese and served at Our Lady of Peace in Fords, Cathedral of St. Francis of Assisi in Metuchen, St. Thomas the Apostle in Old Bridge, St. John the Evangelist in Dunellen, St. Matthias in Somerset and St. Catherine of Siena in Pittstown.
Acute care family specialists work under Monmouth Medical Center's Behavioral Health Services unit, and provide mental health programs for children, adolescents and adults diagnosed with psychiatric and dual disorders, according to monmouthresourcenet.org, which aims to provide information for health services in Monmouth County.
"Today I learned that Mark Dolak, the priest who molested me for over eight years, is no longer employed by Monmoth Medical Center as an Acute Care Family Support Specialist," Bisaha said. "There he had access to hundreds of children and adolescents dealing with psychiatric issues. I pray none of them were harmed. I am relieved he no longer has direct access to vulnerable children."
She said Dolak began abusing her when she as a vulnerable child after her father had been diagnosed with a terminal heart condition.
“He knew that,” Bisaha said of Dolak, “and he used that to his advantage.”
Bisaha is not the only person to make claims of sexual abuse by Dolak.
|St. Francis of Assisi Cathedral in Metuchen, one of the locations Susan Bisaha said she was abused more than 40 years ago. (Photo11: Nick Muscavage/Staff Photo)|
In 2003, the Diocese of Metuchen settled allegations of sexual abuse from 10 people. The agreement, for $800,000, settled claims against Monsignor Michael Cashman; the Rev. John Banko; the Rev. Michael Santillo; the Rev. John Butler; and Dolak.
The settlement came with no admission of guilt.
More than 10 years before, however, allegations against Dolak led the diocese to settle with another victim — Bisaha.
In the settlement, the diocese agreed to pay $15,000. The settlement, like the one in 2003, came with no admission of guilt. Once the attorney’s fees and other costs were accounted for, Bisaha received about $12,000.
The Diocese of Metuchen previously disclosed to My Central Jersey that two people came forth with claims against Dolak, in addition to Bisaha.
A message left on Dolak's answering machine seeking comment was not immediately returned.
Staff Writer Nick Muscavage: 908-243-6615; firstname.lastname@example.org