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New Jersey Priest Accused Of Sexual Misconduct (Sigh)

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Stop us if you’ve heard this one before, but a Catholic priest is accused of sexual misconduct. In what can be seen as a slight change of pace for the church, only one of the alleged victims is a child.

Authorities in New Jersey arrested 64-year-old Father Velanmarukudiyil J. Christudas — known to his flock as “Father Chris” — on Saturday after one of his female parishioners claimed he sexually abused her and her child at their home the previous day.

Details of the alleged assault are unknown, and the Ocean County
District Attorney’s Office didn’t immediately respond to our request for
more information.

Christudas, according to the Dicoese of Trenton, has been relieved of
his priestly duties as authorities continue to investigate the alleged
attack.

Christudas has been an adjunct priest at the Church of the Visitation
since 2001. There’s even a garden dedicated in his honor in front of the
church.

More from the Diocese:

Father Christudas is a member of the Camaldolese Congregation of the
Order of St. Benedict (India Saccidananda Ashram, Shantivanam,
Tamilnadu) serving in the Diocese of Trenton with the permission of the
Prior General of the Camaldolese Congregation, Dom Bernadino Cozzarini,
O.S.B.Cam. Visitation Parish has been his only assignment in the
Diocese. Prior to his arrival in the Diocese of Trenton, Father
Christudas served in India, Australia and California. 

Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M. has withdrawn Father Christudas’
faculties to minister in the Diocese of Trenton while the charges
against him are being fully investigated and addressed by law
enforcement authorities. The Bishop has pledged the diocese’s full
cooperation with this process.  Bishop O’Connell has reached out to
inform Father Christudas’ Prior General of the charges against the
priest, and his status in the Diocese of Trenton.

Our Victims’ Assistance coordinator has been made available to those
impacted by these troubling allegations, and the diocese will provide
whatever support possible. The Bishop has asked all members of the
diocesan family to pray for all concerned, especially the victims.

Christudas has been charged with one count of criminal sexual contact with the female, one count of
criminal sexual contact with the child and one count of endangering the
welfare of a child.

The church encourages anyone who feels like they’ve been abused to
call their priest abuse hotline at 1-888-296-2965 or email them at
abuseline@dioceseoftrenton.org.

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