Two months ago, news broke that a priest in the Diocese of Trenton had been exchanging sexually charged text messages with someone he thought was a 16-year-old boy.
I was that fictitious boy.
Matthew Riedlinger was an assistant pastor at St. Aloysius Church in Jackson. In 2011, I and another Catholic University of America student complained to Trenton Bishop David M. O’Connell that Riedlinger had sexually harassed us and other young men repeatedly for years. In the summer of 2012, we posed as a 16-year-old boy on Facebook and set up a sting.
Within two weeks of the first contact, Riedlinger talked about pornography, mutual masturbation and sexual encounters. And, he wanted to meet “me.”
In August 2012, we gave transcripts of the conversations to O’Connell, who removed Riedlinger from the parish, but the bishop did not tell parishioners of the allegations against Riedlinger for more than a year — until Sept. 21, after being told The Star-Ledger would be publishing a story on the scandal.
O’Connell’s refusal to...