2 Jersey Priests Arrested in Canadian Sex Case

By George Berkin and Mark Mueller
Star-Ledger [Newark New Jersey]
July 27, 2002

Two New Jersey priests, including the former head of the prestigious Seton Hall Prep school, were arrested in Montreal this week on charges they solicited sex from minors, a spokesman for the Archdiocese of Newark said yesterday.

The Rev. William Giblin, 70, the former Seton Hall Prep headmaster and retired pastor of St. Joseph's Church in East Orange, and the Rev. Eugene Heyndricks, 60, who most recently headed a parish in Hudson County, were caught in a police sting operation on Wednesday, archdiocese spokesman James Goodness said.

The arrests were connected to the breakup of a prostitution ring that employed boys as young as 14 in the French-speaking Canadian city, the church spokesman said. The priests have since been released on bail, Goodness said, though the spokesman had no information on the pair's whereabouts. He said they are scheduled to appear in a Montreal courtroom in October.

The charges are the latest in a series of sex-abuse claims against priests in New Jersey and across the country. Unlike the vast majority of cases, however, the charges involve allegations of current abuse.

They also come at a particularly sensitive time for the Catholic Church in the United States and Canada, with Pope John Paul II visiting Toronto this week for World Youth Day.

Both Giblin and Heyndricks voluntarily left the ministry after they were arrested, Goodness said.

"The archdiocese is appalled by these allegations," Goodness said. "We're going to cooperate with the authorities."

The church is not providing lawyers to the priests, Goodness added.

According to the Gazette, a Montreal newspaper, police arrested 30 people connected to the prostitution ring. Among those charged were two suspected ringleaders. The report did not say whether any priests were among those arrested.

Most of the male prostitutes in the ring were between 14 and 22, Canadian authorities told The Gazette. The newspaper reported that the ringleaders were recruiting teenagers, telling them that they could make $20 to $200 per client depending on the extent of their sexual acts, with ringleaders taking 30 percent of the earnings.

The archdiocese was notified of the charges shortly after the arrests took place, Goodness said. The priests were not on official church business while in Montreal, the spokesman said. The sting operation was conducted by Montreal police, he added.

Giblin, ordained in 1959, was assigned to St. Joseph's parish in East Orange from 1989 until he retired last year, Goodness said.

Early in his career, Giblin was a professor at Seton Hall University in South Orange for seven years, until 1968, Goodness said. Giblin then relocated to Seton Hall Prep, where he was headmaster until the 1980s, the diocese spokesman said.

The West Orange preparatory school, run by the archdiocese, is the oldest Catholic prep school in New Jersey. It's also among the most celebrated, boasting a high-powered roster of alumni, from chief executives to college presidents.

Giblin remains well-known at the all-boys school, where an auditorium and a student recognition award bear his name.

No complaints against Giblin were filed during his tenures at Seton Hall University or Seton Hall Prep, Goodness said.

Giblin also was briefly assigned as a parish priest at St. Peter the Apostle Church in River Edge, Bergen County, the spokesman said.

Heyndricks, ordained in 1981, served until this week at St. John Nepomucene in Guttenburg, Hudson County, a post he held since November 2001, Goodness said.

Heyndricks previously served as a lay teacher at St. Joseph's elementary school in Oradell, Bergen County, from 1973 to 1977, according to published accounts. In the 1980s, he served at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church in Ridgewood.

In the mid-1990s, he moved to Our Lady of Mercy parish in Park Ridge before he was named pastor of St. John the Baptist Church in Fairview, also in Bergen County, in 1999.

The Newark Archdiocese is the largest of New Jersey's Catholic dioceses, covering Bergen, Essex, Hudson and Union counties.


Any original material on these pages is copyright © 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.