Former Red Bank Catholic Hs Student Alleges Clergy Sex Abuse

By Nicole Rosenthal
The Patch
September 3, 2020

The former student is suing St. James Church and Red Bank Catholic, claiming abuse by one priest with a history of allegations. (Shutterstock)

RED BANK, NJ A former student who attended Red Bank Catholic School in the 1980s was sexually abused by a priest who had a history of similar complaints, according to a lawsuit filed in the Superior Court of New Jersey.

Per the July 29 complaint filed in Mercer County, Francis McGrath abused the student (referred to only as initials B.T.) in 1982 and 1983. The accused abused multiple children while serving at St. James Church and Red Bank Catholic School, the suit reads.

The defendants listed as the Roman Catholic Diocese of Trenton, St. James Church in Red Bank and Red Bank High School were sued on six counts, including civil conspiracy and intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress. The suit demands a trial by jury.

Plaintiff B.T. is seeking punitive damages, citing "permanent emotional, psychological and psychiatric injuries, resulting in pain, suffering, embarrassment, humiliation, mental anguish and loss of enjoyment of life and life's pleasures".

The lawsuit alleges that defendants were aware of the risk of sexual abuse by members of the clergy, a "known, preventable hazard" that the defendants failed to respond to, and that the perpetrator(s) used their positions as religious leaders, priests, school administrators and/or teachers to groom and abuse pupils.

"The world is now aware that thousands of children have been sexually abused by Catholic priests, and that many of those predator priests were protected by Catholic officials," the lawsuit reads. "The Defendant(s) in this case were no different."

McGrath, now 70 years old, has faced several similar allegations dating back to the mid-1970s. He was named among dozens of priests in 2019 by the Archdiocese of Baltimore and the Trenton Diocese as having "credible" allegations of sex abuse and was accused of abuse by at least two minors in Baltimore before moving to New Jersey.

McGrath served in Red Bank from 1978 to 1983, going on to serve in Trenton and Toms River until 1995, when he left the priesthood altogether.

According to a Washington Post report from 2002, McGrath left the priesthood after acknowledging abuse allegations involving "three or four victims" in different Trenton parishes.

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