N.J. priest reassigned after sex abuse allegations surface from time as Staten Island teacher in 1980s
By Paul Liotta, February 26, 2018, SILive
STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- A New Jersey priest, who worked in Staten Island schools for more than 20 years as a layman, was put on a leave of absence Sunday after sexual abuse allegations connected to his time in the borough surfaced.
Rev. Patrick Kuffner "has been accused by three individuals of sexual abuse while they were minors," according to a letter from Bishop James F. Checchio of the Diocese of Metuchen.
The allegations stem from Kuffner's time as a layman and teacher on Staten Island more than 30 years ago, according to the letter.
"As I am sure you will be, I am deeply shocked and saddened at this development, and I have a heavy heart for the individuals who came forward after many years of having carried such a tremendous burden," Checchio wrote in his letter.
Kuffner could not be reached for comment Monday afternoon.
He is now 70, according to public records.
The letter doesn't go into detail about the allegations against Kuffner, who served as pastor for Our Lady of Mount Virgin in Middlesex, N.J.
A priest at the New Jersey church said all he knew about the allegations was what was in Checchio's letter.
However, the Advance learned at least some of the allegations stem from his time as a teacher and basketball coach at Sacred Heart in West Brighton in the early 1980s.
50 State AG Call for Grand Jury
Any investigation must be:
- independent of and separate from the church
- must have subpoena powers and ability to compel testimony under oath
Anything short of these criteria is a sham and whitewash.
In addition, write letters to the editor, make phone calls to politicians as they can apply pressure to keep them responsive to our demand. We need to make efforts to ensure that they follow up on what the state is doing to investigate these crimes.
The Attorneys General of forty states have inquired about the grand jury process in Pennsylvania. Let's get statewide investigations going in fifty states.
Note to Letter Writers
Use your own words and style of writing. Cut and paste from the templates as you wish. Include your experiences, whether as a survivor or as a member of the community. And relate your letter to the state you were abused in or state now living in.