Judge to Decide If Priest Case Goes to Trial

By Mark Leiser
Daily Journal (Vineland, NJ)
November 8, 1999

ATLANTIC CITY - A Superior Court judge is expected to decide today whether a case charging a Millville priest with making unwanted sexual advances will proceed to trial.

The Rev. Anthony J. Manuppella of St. Mary Magdalen Church was named in a four-count suit filed in March against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Camden.

The suit was suspended in July but returned to court in August after plaintiff Christopher McKelvey of Atlantic City filed an amended appeal.

Now the diocese filed a motion to dismiss the case on the grounds of lack of jurisdiction, according to George Coan of the Superior Court's law division. That could mean, among other things, the diocese believes the case has been filed in the wrong court, Coan said.

In the suit, McKelvey claims Manuppella and the Rev. William C. Pierce, who serves at a Camden parish, discussed homosexual lifestyles and asked him to accompany them to gay bars. The incidents occurred in the mid-1980s when McKelvey attended St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Wynnewood, Pa., the suit said.

Manuppella, who joined St. Mary Magdalen in 1992, denied the allegations.

The complaint also accused two diocese supervisors, including the Rev. John T. Frey of St. Isidore's Church in Vineland, of failing to investigate the allegations after they were reported.


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