After Almost a Year, the Public Deserves Answers on Accused Priest
Almost a year ago, a New Jersey priest accused of sexual abuse voluntarily stepped down from ministry, but so far Newark church officials have neither resolved the case or updated parishioners and the public. It is time for Archbishop John Tobin to provide answers.
According to the Newark Star Ledger, Fr. Jim Weiner was allowed to step down from his position last August following allegations that he sexually assaulted a seminarian in the 1980s. Fr. Weiner’s accuser said he reached a settlement with the church in 2004 over the alleged abuse, but the priest was permitted to continue his ministry.
In a story last week, the newspaper noted “Fr. Weiner is still listed as pastor of St. Andrew’s Parish on its website, but parishioners said he has not preached since he voluntarily stepped aside.”
We hope anyone with information or suspicions about Fr. Weiner – or any Newark church staffer – will come forward to trusted, independent sources of help, like local police and prosecutors. We also hope that church whistleblowers will especially take this step, now that they have been promised protection by Pope Francis.
Finally, we urge Archbishop Tobin to act soon to resolve this situation and to explain to Newark Catholics why Fr. Weiner was left in his position in 2004 despite the promises of “zero tolerance” in cases of abuse.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for 30 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)