Retired Diocese of Trenton Priest Arrested By Clergy Sex Abuse Task Force

On Behalf of | Sep 21, 2019 | Catholic Church

Retired Howell Priest Arrested By Clergy Sex Abuse Task Force

Father H. Brendan Williams, a retired priest of the Diocese of Trenton, was arrested and charged with second-degree sexual assault of a young girl in the late 1990s while he was Pastor at St. Veronica Roman Catholic Church in Howell, New Jersey.  In a press release, authorities made the announcement late Friday afternoon, September 20th, crediting the arrest from a tip received through the recently formed state clergy abuse hotline.

Williams is now the second priest to be charged by the New Jersey Clergy Abuse Task Force formed by Attorney General Gurbir Grewal in 2018. He is accused of touching the private parts of a girl, younger than 13 years old, with his hand at least three times from 1997 to 1999, authorities said. Williams was arrested by members of the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office who are assigned to the task force.

“Once again a call to our hotline has led to a thorough investigation by members of our Clergy Abuse Task Force and charges against a priest who allegedly assaulted a young girl many years ago,” Grewal said. “No person is above the law and we want survivors to know that, despite the passage of time, justice may still be within reach. We will do everything in our power to hold their abusers accountable.”

Williams was one of the 188 priests named on New Jersey’s five dioceses list of clergy credibly accused of sexually abusing a child over multiple decades.  Horowitz law has assembled an even more extensive database.  Ordained in 1965, Williams faced multiple credible allegations of child sex abuse throughout his career.  His assignments prior to his retirement in 2012 included the following:

  • St. Joan of Arc (Marlton, New Jersey)
  • Holy Angels (Hamilton, New Jersey)
  • St. Thomas Aquinas High School, Chaplain (Edison, New Jersey)
  • St. Veronica, Pastor (Howell, New Jersey)
  • Retirement, Villa Vianney (Lawrenceville, New Jersey)

Quite disturbingly, the following six Catholic priests who served at St. Veronica’s in Howell face one or more sexual misconduct complaints:  Richard R. Milewski, Liam A. Minogue, Robert J. Parenti, H. Brendan Williams, Frank J. Iazzetta and Joseph F. McHugh.

The role of Catholic priests is to support the spiritual needs of their parishioners, to educate them on religious practices and meanings, and offer counseling in times of need. Someone who sexually violates young children has no place working in the Church. Any diocese in which such a crime is committed must take responsibility for failing to properly screen potential priests and protect their parishioners.

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests in the Diocese of Trenton. If you or a loved one was sexually abused, raped or sexually molested by a priest or other clergy, contact our law firm at 888-283-9922 or send an e-mail to sexual abuse lawyer Adam Horowitz at [email protected] for a free consultation.