Diocese of Trenton removes Holmdel priest after ‘credible’ sexual abuse allegation

By Erik Larsen
Asbury Park Press
March 30, 2019

Rev. Msgr. Gregory D. Vaughan in this Asbury Park Press file photo from 2005.

[with video]

A recent and “credible” allegation of sexual abuse of a child from decades ago has been made against  the Rev.  Gregory D. Vaughan, who has served as pastor of the Church of St. Catharine in Holmdel since 2013, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Trenton announced Saturday night.

“The alleged abuse dates back to the late 1970s and early 1980s when Monsignor Vaughan was a parochial vicar in St. Ann Parish, Keansburg,” the prepared statement from the Trenton diocese read. “In the interest of protecting the victim’s privacy, the diocese will not disclose further details of the alleged abuse. This is the first and only allegation of sexual abuse of a minor against Monsignor Vaughan reported to the diocese.”

The allegation was reported to the diocese on March 17, according to the statement.

After the allegation was received, the diocese immediately reported the matter to the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office, the statement read.

“Following our own interviews with the victim, the diocese has determined that the allegation is credible. Monsignor Vaughan has denied the allegation,” the statement read.

Last September, state Attorney General Gurbir Grewal announced the formation of a criminal task force to investigate allegations of sexual abuse by members of the clergy within the Catholic dioceses of New Jersey. See the video above.

Since the allegation is credible, Bishop David M. O’Connell has removed Vaughan from ministry, effective immediately. The allegation will also be reported to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in Rome, the statement read.

The announcement comes almost two months after the diocese named 30 former clergymen — either dead or removed from their ministries — who had been credibly accused of sexual abuse against children.

Since his ordination in 1972, Vaughan has served as a priest exclusively in the Diocese of Trenton, with assignments in the following parishes:  St. Ann; Keansburg; St. Charles Borromeo, Cinnaminson; St. Mary, Middletown; St. Raphael, Hamilton, and St. Catharine, Holmdel.  Additionally, Vaughan formerly served the Diocese as vicar for Catholic education; chancellor; vicar general; moderator of the curia, and director of vocations.

The notice of the allegation will be reported in all parishes where Vaughan had served over the years, the statement read.

“We ask the faithful of the diocese to remember in prayer all those impacted by this alleged abuse, and all victims who have been harmed as children by abuse of any kind,” the statement read. 

Anyone who has been sexually abused as a minor by a representative of the church is encouraged by the diocese to report their abuse to the appropriate law enforcement agency and to the diocese through its abuse hotline: 1-888-296-2965 or via email at



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