Holmdel priest ousted after sex abuse allegation; parishioners react
By Kala Kachmar And Erik Larsen
Asbury Park Press
March 31, 2019
|Rev. Msgr. Gregory D. Vaughan in this Asbury Park Press file photo from 2005.|
|St. Catharine's Church in Holmdel |
A longtime St. Catharine's parishioner said he was "shocked" when he learned one of the church's priests was removed abruptly after the Diocese of Trenton announced a "credible" allegation of child sex abuse against him on Saturday.
"It's all coming out now," said John Revolinsky, of Holmdel, who was on his way to the 8 a.m. service at the church. "He was new, but he seemed alright."
The Rev. Gregory D. Vaughan, who has served as a priest in Holmdel since 2013, is accused of sexual abuse of a minor dating back to the late 1970s and early 1980s when he was a parochial vicar in St. Ann Parish in Keansburg, according to a statement from the Trenton diocese.
The diocese said it would not release further details about the alleged abuse to protect the privacy of the victim. The abuse was reported to the diocese on March 17, and after its own interviews with the victim, found the allegation to be "credible," the statement said.
Diocese officials reported the abuse to the Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office.
Revolinsky, who has been a parishioner of St. Catharine's for 20 years, was surprised and shocked about the abuse.
"He was a great speaker," Revolinsky said of Vaughan. "His homilies were motivational."
Several parishioners entering the service at St. Catharine's on Sunday declined to comment about the sex abuse allegation. Some appeared visibly upset upon finding out about Vaughan's removal from the ministry by Bishop David M. O'Connell.
O'Donnell plans to report the abuse to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in Rome, according to the statement from the diocese. The notice of the allegation will albe reported in all parishes where Vaughan had served over the years, 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 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 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.
“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 firstname.lastname@example.org.