Tuesday, October 18, 2005


Prosecutors received priest probe results, Archdiocese says

Camdem, New Jersey - An allegation of sexual misconduct against Monsignor Peter Cheplic that Archdiocese investigators deemed "credible" was referred to county prosecutors, an Archdiocese spokesman said yesterday.

The investigation, concluded by the Archdiocese Response Team in April 2003, was of a March 2002 allegation by Martin Kansky that Cheplic had sexually molested him at a house at the Shore in 1978, when Kansky was 18 and Cheplic was pastor of St. Matthew's Church in Ridgefield.

According to a letter received by Kansky from the Rev. Robert Emery, vice chancellor and coordinator of the Archdiocese Response Team, the allegation was "credible" and the Archdiocese offered to provide counseling to Kansky. Kansky, now married and living in Tennessee, did not accept the offer.

Cheplic has since voluntarily stepped down from his post as parochial vicar of St. Henry Church in Bayonne during an investigation into two other allegations of sexual misconduct against him.

Archdiocese spokesman Jim Goodness said yesterday that the Archdiocese Response Team turned over its information to prosecutors in Hudson County, where Cheplic was then pastor at St. Aloysius Church in Jersey City, and in Ocean County, where the alleged abuse occurred.

"We provided all the information that was given over to us," Goodness said.

However, it could not be determined yesterday what, if anything, prosecutors did with that information.

First Assistant Hudson County Prosecutor Guy Gregory and Assistant Ocean County Prosecutor Bob Gasser told a reporter yesterday that they needed more time to research what had been done with the information about Cheplic.

During the investigation, Cheplic was taken out of the ministry from St. Aloysius Church, where he had been pastor since 1994.

Goodness said an "announcement from the pulpit" was made that Cheplic was being investigated for "an allegation of sexual misconduct."

Although Kansky's allegation was deemed "credible," Archbishop John J. Myers reinstated Cheplic to the ministry, assigning him first to St. Lawrence Church in Weehawken and then to St. Henry Church, but with restrictions barring him from unsupervised interaction with children.

Goodness said Cheplic was not permanently removed from the ministry because it was the first allegation against him and because Kansky was over 18 when the misconduct allegedly occurred.

See also, the never-ending chronicle of church-related crime.

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