A new sexual abuse lawsuit filed against the Catholic Church indicates that the New Jersey archdiocese put a priest in charge of a youth ministry after he had faced credible allegations of molesting children.
A man going under the pseudonym Richard Roe filed the sexual abuse lawsuit against the Archdiocese of Newark this past week. WGNTV.com reports the lawsuit alleges the Church was negligent in failing to listen to warnings about Rev. Kevin Gugliotta, who stands accused of molesting Roe in 2004.
Gugliotta pled guilty to child pornography distribution in 2017. He received a two-year sentence, and the Catholic Church subsequently defrocked him. But 26-year-old Roe says the church received warnings about Gugliotta as early as 2003 but still put him in charge of a youth ministry.
The sexual abuse lawsuit identifies another man as Mr. X. This man warned the church in 2003 about Gugliotta sexually abusing children as a Boy Scout leader in the 1980s. The church sent the case to the Vatican for review and briefly removed him from ministry. Finally, the church decided it could not take any action because the allegations against Gugilotta were from before he became a priest. Consequently, they reinstated him and put him in a position of authority for minors.
Roe alleges he became Gugliotta’s next victim the following year in 2004. His sexual abuse lawsuit names the St. Bartholomew of the Apostle Parish in Scotch Plains, the former Archbishop John H. Myers, and the Archdiocese of Newark.
Sexual Abuse Lawsuit Background
The complaint comes as attention on Catholic Church sex abuse is reaching a fever pitch. Dioceses nationwide are releasing the names of priests currently facing credible allegations of sexual assaults against minors and vulnerable adults. Churches began releasing the lists several months after the August 2018 grand jury report revealed cases involving at least 90 Catholic priests facing sex abuse allegations in the Pittsburgh area with cover-ups spanning decades.
The report further revealed that the Pennsylvania Catholic Church covered up the abuse of more than 1,000 victims, primarily children, over seven decades. The report identified 90 of these priests, sparking Justice Department and other states’ attorneys general to launch investigations.
In February, dioceses in New Jersey released the names of 188 priests who served in the state and faced charges of “credible” sex abuse claims at some point.
Late this past month, the Vatican held a four-day summit to address sex abuse issues in the Roman Catholic Church. However, critics are quick to point out that the conference resulted in no firm action from the church.
But the spotlight has refocused the Church on resolving some of the sexual abuse litigation. An attorney representing numerous sexual abuse lawsuit plaintiffs announced in January that the Catholic Church had decided to settle at least five claims against a former New Jersey priest.