Father Michael Teta
Diocese of Trenton
Assigned as follows:
- 1975-1977: St. Joseph Church (Bound Brook, NJ)
- 1978-1980: Our Mother of Sorrows (Tucson, AZ)
- 1978-1980: Absent on Sick Leave
- 1980-1982: St. Rose of Lima Parish (Safford, AZ)
- 1984-1986: St. Francis Church (Superior, AZ)
- 1987-1988: St. Francis de Sales (Tucson, AZ)
- 1989-1994: Absent on Leave
- 1996-2002: Absent on Leave
- 2003-2004: Administrative Leave of Absence
- 2004: Laicized
Summary of Abuse Allegations against Father Michael Teta:
Fr. Michael Teta was ordained a priest in 1974. According to media reports, Teta came to Tucson, Arizona from the Diocese of Trenton in 1978. He became a member of the Diocese of Tucson in 1982. In 1997, a Catholic Church tribunal found Teta guilty of molesting two boys, ages 7 and 9, in the confessional as they prepared for their First Communion. It was found to be “almost a satanic quality in Teta’s mode of acting toward young men and boys.”
The alleged abuse occurred during his first assignment as associate pastor at Our Mother of Sorrows in Tucson, AZ from 1978 to 1980. However, Teta denied the allegations. The tribunal said the evidence in the case against him showed that his ‘‘insidious ‘rape’’ of his victims was ‘‘so heinous that the only solution is that he take up some other occupation’’. A civil court later awarded about $2 million to the two victims.
The case was referred to the Vatican (Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith) by the Bishop of Tucson in the early 1990s. At the time, these types of matters were being handled by then-Carinal Joseph Ratzinger, who became Pope Benedict XVI in 2005, yet no action was taken. According to media reports, it took 12 years from the time Ratzinger assumed control of the case in a signed letter until Teta was formally removed from ministry.
Teta was accused of child abuse in several of the 11 lawsuits filed between 1999 and 2002 which were settled by the Tucson Diocese before January 2002. The flood of cases involving Teta factored into the Diocese of Tucson’s decision to file bankruptcy in 2004.
According to media reports, in 2021, Teta was accused in a lawsuit alleging abuse of a minor while assigned to St. Joseph’s in Bound Brook, New Jersey from 1974-77.
He is believed to still be alive and has never been criminally convicted of the allegations against him. His current whereabouts are unknown.
Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Diocese of Trenton in New Jersey. If you need a lawyer because you were sexually abused by a priest in New Jersey, contact our office today. Although many years have passed, those abused by Catholic clergy in the Diocese of Trenton now have legal options, but filing deadlines will apply so do not delay in reaching out to us. Our lawyers have decades of experience representing survivors of clergy sexual abuse in New Jersey and nationwide. We can help.