Monsignor Indicted

By Anthony Scaduto
The Newsday [New York]
July 29, 1993

Less than a week after an 18-year-old parishioner charged that a Catholic priest, newly elevated to monsignor, put his hands inside the young man's pants, a Bergen County grand jury has indicted the cleric on charges of criminal sexual conduct.

Msgr. Robert Morel, 49, has flatly denied the accusation.

But Bergen County Prosecutor John J. Fahy has said that Morel gave a voluntary statement admitting the abuse. A New Jersey newspaper reported last week that Morel told investigators the incident was "a lapse of judgment," and he agreed to undergo counseling.

The alleged sexual advance took place at about 1 a.m. a week ago yesterday, in the rectory of St. Peter the Apostle Roman Catholic Church in River Edge, where Morel has been pastor since 1988. It happened, the youth told police, after a party given to celebrate Morel's elevation to monsignor.

Morel stopped as soon as the youth objected, according to the prosecutor.

Newark Archbishop Theodore McCarrick has placed Morel on administrative leave.


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