Crime

There Have Been A Lot Of Excuses For Priests Over The Years, But Never One Like This

| by Sarah Fruchtnicht

A New Jersey man who was allegedly molested by a priest when he was teenager is suing the Diocese of Trenton after it claimed Rev. Terence McAlinden was not officially “on duty” when he committed the assault.

Chris Naples, 42, says McAlinden took him on "youth group" trips where he would sexually assault him. He says McAlinden, who was the head of the diocese’s youth group in the 1980s, heard his confession and included him in private Mass during those outings.

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An attorney for the diocese argued in the Delaware Supreme Court that McAlinden was not officially a priest during those trips.

“How do we determine when a priest is and is not on duty?” one of the justices asked, according to NJ.com.

“Well,” said the diocese lawyer, “you can determine a priest is not on duty when he is molesting a child, for example. ... A priest abusing a child is absolutely contrary to the pursuit of his master’s business, to the work of a diocese.”

The court later ruled that Naples did not have jurisdiction to sue the diocese in the state of Delaware because he could not prove that the trips were sanctioned by the church.

"Any hope I had that the church was concerned about me as a victim or about the conduct of its priests was totally gone," Naples told NJ.com. "They were washing their hands of it. I was shattered. I just couldn’t believe that was one of their arguments."

In May, Naples won a $3 million judgment against 73-year-old McAlinden, but he says he has not received any money yet. Now he is filing a suit against the diocese in Superior Court in Mercer County.

"This has never been about the money," he said. "It’s about exposing him for the monster that he is, and it’s about transparency in the diocese. They knew about McAlinden. They could have done something about it. And they did what every other diocese did. They kept it hush-hush and paid behind-the-scenes settlements."

Naples said McAlinden not only abused him on their trips to Delaware, but also trips to New York, Atlantic City, Connecticut and the Virgins Islands.

In December 2012, McAlinden reportedly admitted to having an intense sexual relationship with Naples, but he claimed it occurred only after Naples had turned 18. He also admitted to sleeping nude with teen males who belonged to the youth group and bathing nude with some teens in a hot tub, according to NJ.com.

Sources: NJ.com (2)