Suits Filed Against 9 Abusive Priests from Newark, SNAP Calls for Outreach

Nine priests – including two being named for the first time – from the Archdiocese of Newark are being sued today on sexual abuse allegations. We call on Newark church officials to do immediate outreach in order to bring other potential victims or witnesses forward and we encourage anyone with information or suspicions to report them to the attorney general and local police.

The men being sued today are:

Father Kenneth Martin: Long time New Jersey SNAP Leader and advocate Mark Crawford and his younger brother were victims of Father Martin who was placed on restrictions from public ministry in 2002-2003.  Today, a new victim has come forward to say he was abused by Father Martin from 1981 through 1984 while Father Martin was stationed at St. Andrew's Parish in Bayonne, NJ.

Father Contardo Omarini S.S.P.: He has never publicly been named in news media before today.  He abused three brothers from approximately 1958 to 1963 while he ministered at St Bernard in Plainfield, NJ.  The eldest of the three is long time SNAP member and advocate Fred Marigliano who in 2015 walked the entire state of New Jersey, joined by many survivors along the way, in an effort to bring greater awareness of the sexual abuse of children and the need for NJ lawmakers to reform state laws.  Fred's work was instrumental in the passage of New Jersey new Statute of Limitations laws greatly expanding rights for all victims of sexual abuse.

Brother Peter Russel C.F.X.: This brother too has never been publicly identified.  He is accused of abusing a minor from 1987 through 1983 while stationed at St Joseph's High School Montvale, New Jersey.

Brother John Dagwell C.F.X: Dagwell pled guilty to criminal charges in 1988, though he was only fired from the school he worked at and transferred away to Massachusetts by the Xaverian order. He was accused at each new assignment and was finally removed from ministry in 2002.

Father John Capparelli: Capparelli was a serially abusive priest who taught high school in Newark for 20 years and would use wrestling as a pretext to abuse young boys and also to create child pornography. At least 24 victims have come forward at this point with more likely to follow. He was murdered in 2019 at his Las Vegas home.

Father Gerald Sudol: Sudol has already been the subject of at least one settlement previously. He worked as a hospital chaplain from 1995 through 2002 when he was removed following an allegation of sexual misconduct. He was returned to ministry following a canonical trial, but it was later revealed that he had been accused of abuse while assigned to a parish in Ridgefield Park in the 1980s. Despite the church knowing of those allegations in the 1990s, they allowed Sudol to keep working.

Father Joseph RiceRice was removed from ministry in 2002 following credible allegations of abuse and a lawsuit was settled against him in 2004. Rice has since passed, but church officials acknowledged multiple victims when they listed him on their list of accused priests in 2019.

We hope that these lawsuits will encourage others who were hurt by these men or any other priest, nun, deacon, or other church staffer from Newark to come forward and make a report. Attorney General Gurbir Grewal has been investigating cases of clergy abuse and we encourage anyone with information to make a report to AG Grewal’s hotline by calling 1-855-363-6548.

CONTACT: Mark Crawford, SNAP New Jersey (mecrawf@comcast.net, 732-632-7687) Zach Hiner, Executive Director (zhiner@snapnetwork.org, 517-974-9009)

(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)


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