Vatican Says Priest to Be Tried by Church
Morris Cleric Accused of Molesting Two Girls

By John Chadwick
The Record (Bergen County, NJ)
May 18, 2004

The Vatican has told the Paterson Diocese to hold a church trial for a Morris County priest accused of sexually abusing two girls, the diocese said Monday.

The Rev. William McCarthy, 64, faces removal from the priesthood or from public ministry if convicted by a panel of fellow priests.

"The Vatican has directed the Diocese of Paterson to hold a canonical trial in the accusation against Father McCarthy," said Marianna Thompson, spokeswoman for Bishop Frank J. Rodimer.

The accusations surfaced publicly in April 2003, shortly after McCarthy retired earlier than expected from St. Rose of Lima Church in East Hanover. The charges date to 1981 and involve two sisters.

The diocese told McCarthy he can't represent himself as a priest until the accusations are resolved.

He has denied the charges, the diocese said.

Church trials typically are held behind closed doors to consider issues such as marriage annulments and church property transactions. After the sexual abuse scandal exploded in 2002, the bishops approved a complicated disciplinary process under which priests accused of abuse face a trial before church authorities. Rome must review the case first.

No date has been set for the trial.

The diocese also announced Monday the resignation of another priest facing legal problems, the Rev. Ronald J. Tully of Sacred Heart Church in Dover.

Thompson said she couldn't comment on Tully other than a statement saying the priest "was required to resign as pastor due to a legal matter dating back some 25 years. That matter has resurfaced and is going to require his full attention."

The statement also said, "Our prayers go out to anyone who is involved in this matter."


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