Are Cardinal Tobin and the Newark Archdiocese Hiding Anything?

| Jul 6, 2021 | Abuser Profiles, Catholic Church

In Catholic circles, it is widely known that Cardinal Joseph Tobin is close to Pope Francis. He oversees the Newark archdiocese, a very large flock in the vast New York media market once headed by the now-disgrace-and-defrocked former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick.

All of this might lead one to believe that Tobin would work hard to be more forthcoming about abuse and cover-ups than other bishops who head dioceses with less troubled histories.

That does not, however, seem to be the case.

In a very short time, we at Horowitz Law have found a number of accused child molesting clerics who are or were in the Newark archdiocese but who are NOT on Tobin’s ‘credibly accused’ list. They include

—Sr. Andre, a Dominican nun who was accused in 1967 of sexually abusing a 12 year old girl. (Letters from the nun to the girl and the nun’s journals confirmed the accusations.)

She had worked in two other dioceses before Newark and was later transferred to Connecticut.

–Fr. Thomas M. Bennett, who worked at Blessed Sacrament Church (1960-1963) and Newark Catholic High School (1960-1963), both in the Newark archdiocese.

He was accused in a 2018 lawsuit of sexually abusing a boy multiple times in 2002-2003.

Born in Detroit, he attended seminaries in Columbus and Norwood (both in Ohio) and also worked in the Columbus diocese.

—Sister Alice Burnette, who was sued last year for allegedly restraining a 10-year-old girl at a Catholic school in Montclair NJ in 1971 while Fr. William Dowd raped her.

She belonged to the Sisters of Charity.

Fr. Kevin Bray, who was sued twice for abusing kids, in 2008 and again last year.

In the Newark archdiocese, he worked in Elizabeth (1975) and at the East Orange Veterans Administration Hospital (1993). In the Paterson diocese, he worked in Morristown, Ceder Knolls and at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center. He was also at Sacred Heart parish in Wilmington for a year (1995).

Before he died in 2000, he belonged to a religious order known as the Benedictines.

—Fr. Joseph F. X. Cevetello, who was accused in a 2019 lawsuit of sexually abusing a boy during private preparation for First Communion in 1976 or ’77. At the time, the priest headed Our Lady of Mount Virgin in Garfield, NJ.

Fr. John B. Chaney, who was accused in lawsuits earlier this year of molesting three former students. In 2014, he was listed in by the Christian Brothers (CFC) as accused by at least two people (along with 49 other clerics). He worked at Bergen Catholic High School in Oradell NJ.

The 2014 Official Catholic Directory shows Fr. Chaney living at a church facility in the New York archdiocese (where convicted abuser Br. Ronald Justin Lasik and accused Br. John Laurence Heathwood CFC are also listed as living). Earlier this year, he was reportedly living in a church facility in New Rochelle NY.

Fr. William S. Crouse, who (according to the Pennsylvania Attorney General in 2016) sodomized a 14-year-old boy in the late 1960s while in Montclair, NJ. He also spent time in Georgia, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Maryland Puerto Rico, Vietnam and Ethiopia

He belonged to a religious order known as the Sons of the Sacred Heart, or the “Verona Fathers.”

Br. John H. “Aloysius” Dagwell, who was sued for abuse last year, pled guilty to abuse in 1988 and is on a ‘credibly accused’ list by a religious order known as the Xavarians

He also worked Montvale, NJ, Ft. Lauderdale and Boston.

–Fr. Nelson C. Damasco, who worked in Jersey City at St Mary’s in the Newark archdiocese and is listed as ‘credibly accused’ of abuse by the San Diego diocese.

Originally from the Philippines, he was also a military chaplain stationed for a time at Fort Hood in Texas.

—Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio, who in separate lawsuits faces allegations that he abused two Jersey City altar boys (one six years old, the other 11 years old).

He was named Auxiliary Bishop of Newark in 1996, Bishop of Camden in 1999, and Bishop of Brooklyn in 2003.

Fr. Salvatore “Sal” DiStefano, who was placed on leave last year following reports of recent, unspecified complaints.

He was the chaplain of Oratory Catholic Prep in Summit, an all-boys school. Earlier, he had worked in New York.

This is, of course, a partial list. And it’s of course possible that one or more of these accusations will be proven to be false or a case of mistaken identity.

Still, it’s troubling that all of these alleged predators are missing from what should be one of the nation’s most thorough Catholic ‘credibly accused’ lists.