Former Priest Charged with Sex Abuse May Get Plea Deal
Madison man charged with molesting 4 Daytop teens would face 5 to 7 years
By Peggy Wright
Daily Record [Morris County, New Jersey]
October 12, 2005
The Morris County Prosecutor's Office on Tuesday offered an ex-Roman Catholic priest a plea bargain of between five and seven years in prison to resolve charges of sexual misconduct with four male teenagers he counseled as a social worker at Daytop-NJ in Mendham.
Assistant Prosecutor Meg Rodriguez told Superior Court Judge Salem Vincent Ahto in Morristown that the plea offer extended to 58-year-old Madison resident Richard J. Mieliwocki would involve up to seven years either in state prison or at the state's Adult Diagnostic and Treatment Center for sex offenders in Avenel.
Mieliwocki has pleaded not guilty to the charges, and he next is due in Superior Court on Nov. 7.
If he accepts the state's offer, Mieliwocki also would have to register with police as a convicted sex offender under Megan's Law once released.
Mieliwocki also would be subject to community supervision for life.
Rodriguez said the plea offer would be in exchange for admissions to one count of child endangerment and three counts of criminal sexual contact.
Mieliwocki was indicted in August on charges of misconduct with four youths between the ages of 16 and 18 between March 8 and Dec. 6, 2004, while he worked as a counselor at the inpatient substance abuse rehabilitation facility in Mendham. He allegedly asked three about the size of their genitals and whether they masturbated. He also is accused of touching the buttocks of one boy, the genitals of a second, and getting a third teenager to take off his clothes so he could spank his bare buttocks.
Ordained a priest in 1972, Mieliwocki was assigned to the Archdiocese of Newark as of 1994. He worked as a priest at St. Joseph the Carpenter Church in Roselle.
A sexual abuse allegation was made against him in 1994, and he was put on leave and ordered to undergo counseling when an archdiocese response team found the allegation to be credible, said archdiocese spokesman James Goodness.
Mieliwocki stopped treatment, and his whereabouts were unknown to the archdiocese until he was charged in December with misconduct at Daytop.
Daytop officials were not aware when they hired Mieliwocki in 2002 that his social work license had been put on probation for three years by the state Board of Social Work Examiners in June 1999.
The probation arose from a complaint of sexual inappropriateness against Mieliwocki while he was employed as a staff clinician at Clifton Mental Health Service, a division of Service Centers of New Jersey in Clifton. He was assigned to work with a young male on a weekly basis from October 1996 through January or February 1997.
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