Former Rockaway Priest Admits Sexual Charges

By Bill Riley
October 6, 1992

The former pastor of a Roman Catholic church in Rockaway yesterday pleaded guilty in Morristown to two counts of sexual assault related to conduct with two young boys over a two-year period. The Rev. John G. Pisarcik, 47, who was pastor of Sacred Heart of Jesus Church on Main Street in Rockaway from 1986 until his arrest in October, admitted to Superior Court Judge Stephen Smith that he participated in various types of sex acts with the victims. They were described as being under age 13 when they were molested. The priest, suspended from church duties and as a part-time instructor at the College of St. Elizabeth, said his misconduct with the two boys took place in Rockaway, in Morris County, and Vernon, in Sussex County, on various dates between August 1989 and early October.

At that time last year, one of the youths informed his parents about what was going on with Pisarcik, and a sex crimes investigation was launched by the Morris County Prosecutor's Office that resulted in charges being filed on Oct. 4. Under the terms of a plea bargain arranged with the prosecutor's office by defense attorney Donald Belsole, Pisarcik faces up to 10 years in prison or five years of treatment in the state Adult Diagnosis and Treatment Center for sex offenders in Avenel. Sentencing was tentatively scheduled for July 10. Pisarcik, who was a priest for 24 years prior to his arrest, is to receive credit for any time he spends undergoing treatment at a New Mexico facility. He also will be liable to pay for any costs incurred by the victims seeking psychological counseling that is not covered by insurance carried by the Diocese of Paterson, according to Morris County Assistant Prosecutor Karin Kelly-Weisert. During the plea, Smith warned Pisarcik that if he is diagnosed as a compulsive, repetitive sex offender, he may be held for treatment at the Avenel facility for the entire five years or until it is deemed he can safely return to society. "In other words, it's possible you could spend more time in treatment than if you were incarcerated," the judge explained. Authorities noted parole eligibility on a 10-year prison term would be reached in approximately two years.


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