Catholic Officials in Newark Did Nothing to Protect Children Despite Knowing of Abuse Allegations for at least 13 Years
We are not at all surprised to learn that a Catholic priest in Newark was allowed to keep working despite being accused of child sexual abuse. What is particularly galling in this case is just how terrible the excuses given by Newark Church officials are. We hope that parishioners and the public will express their outrage at the lack of respect and care shown towards Newark children.
According to a recent lawsuit, officials from the Archdiocese of Newark said that they “had no authority” to punish Fr. Kevin Gugliotta after it was reported to them in 2003 that he abused children while working as a Boy Scout leader in the 1980s. Fine, perhaps they could not "punish" the priest, but they could certainly have prevented him from working around other children. The fact that Catholic officials waved away the allegations and allowed Fr. Gugliotta to work as a parish priest for thirteen years, even allowing him to oversee youth ministry, shows how little they actually care about preventing cases of sexual abuse and protecting the children in their care. Church leaders consistently make exaggerated pleas and overwrought apologies for abuse, but when the rubber hits the road, they do the bare minimum when it actually matters.
So many children could have been spared the pain of childhood sexual abuse if Newark Catholic officials had decided to restrict Fr. Gugliotta’s ministry to prevent him from being around children. Instead, they threw up their hands, claimed to be powerless, and subjected more children to abuse. It is outrageous and there should be serious punishments for every person involved in the decision to allow Fr. Gugliotta to keep working around children.
(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)