Msgr. Raymond Cole
Diocese of Metuchen
Suspension from ministry: Oct. 2013
Returned to ministry: 2015
Assigned as Follows:
- St Mary’s Parish (South Amboy, NJ)
- St Joseph’s Church (Hillsborough, NJ)
Summary of Sexual Abuse Allegations Against Msgr. Raymond Cole:
Msgr. Raymond Cole was ordained a priest in 1972 and served in the Diocese of Metuchen. According to media reports, in 2013, he was removed from ministry following an investigation into allegations of child sexual abuse during an assignment in the late 1970’s. Msgr. Cole denied the allegation and he remained in the ministry. Bishop Paul Bootkoski said that he was informed of the allegation by the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office, which did not pursue any criminals charges due to the statute of limitations expiring. The letter to parishioners did not reveal the gender or the age of the accuser, or the details of the misconduct alleged.
The Bishop forwarded to case to the Vatican and said that Cole would receive a canonical trial, similar to a civil trial in the secular world, and suspended Cole from ministry on October 25, 2013. Cole was found not guilty by a church tribunal, composed of three priests, in 2015. He was allowed to return to ministry. Cole purportedly told his superiors that he would never be able to return to St Joseph’s, and wanted to focus on Hispanic ministries instead.
Bishop Bootkowski made no secret of the fact that he believed the allegation to be a lie. Upon announcing the internal tribunal’s findings, Bootkowski told parishioners, “While there can be neither victory nor victor in a situation such as this, the outcome of the trial means that Msgr. Cole is again a priest in good standing in the diocese, and I hope this decision will be the first step in fully restoring his reputation… True to his character, Msgr. Cole fully cooperated during the investigation of the charges against him and never displayed any animosity toward his accuser or the process.”
Cole is now listed as a retired priest of the Diocese of Metuchen. His name does not appear on the Diocese of Metuchen’s list of priests credibly accused of sexual misconduct so he remains a priest in good standing with unlimited facilities to minister.
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