Lawsuit That Charged Abuse by Priest Is Withdrawn

By Renee Winkler
Camden Courier-Post
October 9, 1993

A lawsuit that said the Diocese of Camden and its administrators covered up a priest's sexual abuse of young boys has been withdrawn at the request of those who made the accusations.

U.S. District Court Judge Jerome B. Simandle signed a two-page order Thursday, dismissing the case and saying it cannot be refiled.

Documents filed with the clerk of the court indicated that neither the diocese nor its attorney, Martin F. McKernan Jr., had ever been served with a copy of the lawsuit, filed in June. The dismissal came one day short of the 120-day deadline for that notice.

McKernan would say only that the "parties have resolved their differences."

Ventnor attorney Stephen C. Rubino, who called a press conference in Philadelphia to announce the complaint before it was filed in U.S. District Court, could not be reached for comment.

Co-counsel in the complaint, Edward J. Ross, did not return a message left with his Westmont office.

In the complaint, three men, including a 40-year-old priest now living in Kentucky, claimed a South Jersey priest, the Rev. Joseph F. McGarvey, molested them repeatedly between 1965 and 1982.

The lawsuit also sought damages under the federal Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act. It claimed the diocese had conspired to use the mails to conduct fraudulent activities to the detriment of the individual plaintiffs and their families.

It also claimed McGarvey provided money, gifts, alcohol, trips and vacations to boys in return for their silence about sexual abuse.

About a week after the complaint was filed, a representative of the Diocese of Camden said one plaintiff, the Rev. Gary Hayes, had approached him in 1986 to report sexual abuse which had allegedly occurred while Hayes was a youngster.

The Rev. Joseph Perreault, former director of vocations for the diocese, said he did not give any credence to the allegations.

The diocese has denied any plot to cover up complaints of sexual misconduct by priests.


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