NJ-Priest withdraws after sexual misconduct report, SNAP responds

For immediate release: August 6, 2013

Statement by SNAP director David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, SNAPclohessy@aol.com)

A man’s report of clergy sexual misconduct at a seminary is preventing a Catholic priest from taking over a New Jersey parish.

In June, Paterson Catholic diocese officials announced that Fr. Brando Ibarra would head St. Jude’s parish in Budd Lake. But after David Fagersten of Chicago complained to Mount Olive officials that Fr. Ibarra tried to rape him years ago, Fr. Ibarra has opted to not take the Budd Lake assignment.

Paterson’s bishop has pledged to be “open and transparent” in clergy sex cases. We hope he’ll start now with this one.

We applaud Mount Olive Mayor Rob Greenbaum for expressing his concern to church officials. And we deplore Paterson’s bishop for, in the words of one news account, “never directly addressing whether the diocese investigated the allegations."

Fr. Ibarra is blustering – through his lawyer – about possible legal action against Fagersten. We suspect that’s a calculated and desperate move to try and scare others who may have seen, suspected or suffered Fr. Ibarra’s misdeeds into keeping quiet. If so, we hope it doesn’t succeed.

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