Priest Admits Sexually Abusing Boys

United Press International
March 4, 1987

Newark, N.J. — A Roman Catholic priest pleaded guilty Wednesdy to sexually assaulting an altar boy and two other young boys who were students at the parochial school in the parish where he worked for 27 years.

The Rev. Richard Galdon, 56, entered the plea as part of an agreement in which prosecutors agreed to drop charges he sexually assaulted seven other boys, First Assistant Essex County Prosecutor Edward J. Bilinkas said.

Galdon, appearing before Superior Court Judge Sidney H. Reiss, described having sex with one of the boys and fondling two others, including an altar boy, Bilinkas said.

Galdon pleaded guilty to one count of first-degree aggravated sexual assault and two counts of second-degree sexual assault, Bilinkas said.

The incidents took place at an unidentified private home from June 1981 to September 1985, Bilinkas said. Investigators learned of the assaults from a staff member at the church, he said.

Galdon, held in $50,000 bail, faces up to 30 years in prison at sentencing on May 6. He has been undergoing psychological treatment in New Mexico and agreed to return to the center if he is released on bail, Bilinkas said.

Galdon had worked at the Church of Our Lady of Good Counsel in Newark and taught at its parish school for 27 years before taking an administrative leave in February 1986, said Joann Rizzolo, spokeswoman for the Archdiocese of Newark. Galdon likely will remain on administrative leave, which bars him from performing any duties in the name of the church, Rizzolo said.

Rizzolo released a statement from the Rev. Joseph Plunkett, the church's pastor, who said the sexual assaults were the result of an illness and asked parishioners to look toward the future.

"The situation which has come to light is a source of great anguish for our entire community," Plunkett said. "For some this presents a challenge of faith. For others it is a test of genuine Christian love and understanding.

"Unfortunately for the children and their families, none of the events can be undone or called back. We have extended our full support and services to them and will continue to do so."

Bilinski said the prosecutor's office also has arranged for counseling services for the assault victims.


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