A priest with North Jersey ties was among 300 from six Roman Catholic dioceses in Pennsylvania who sexually abused more than 1,000 children, according to a grand jury report released Tuesday.
"We, the members of this grand jury, need you to hear this. We know some of you have heard some of it before. There have been other reports about child sex abuse within the Catholic Church," the document says.
"But never on this scale. For many of us, those earlier stories happened someplace else, someplace away. Now we know the truth: it happened everywhere."
The more than 1,300-page report lists at least four priests who had served in New Jersey. Among them The Rev. Augustine Giella, who died in 1992 while awaiting trial on child molestation and child pornography charges.
Giella's known assignments were:
- Holy Trinity Church, Hackensack, New Jersey
- Our Lady of Sorrows, Jersey City, New Jersey
- Church of the Epiphany, Cliffside Park, New Jersey
- St. Catherine's, Glen Rock, New Jersey
- St. Joseph's Church, Hanover
- St. John the Evangelist, Enhaut
Three other New Jersey priests in the document were The Rev. James Hopkins (Camden County), The Rev. A. Gregory Uhrig (North Plainfield/Metuchen) and The Rev. John P. Connor (Vineland, Gloucester, Haddon Heights).
"As a consequence of the coverup, almost every instance of abuse we found is too old to be prosecuted. But that is not to say there are no more predators," the report says.
"This grand jury has issued presentments against a priest in the Greensburg diocese and a priest in the Erie Diocese, who has been sexually assaulting children within the last decade. We learned of these abusers directly from their dioceses - which we hope is a sign that the church is finally changing its ways. And there may be more indictments in the future; investigation continues."
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