“Mahwah Priest Pleads Guilty To Child Porn Possession: Report” & related articles

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BREAKING: Rev. Kevin Gugliotta faces up to 7 years in prison and could be required to register as a sex offender.

Mahwah Patch

By March 12, 2017 5:32 am ET


Mahwah Priest Pleads Guilty To Child Porn Possession: Report

MAHWAH, N.J. — The former priest of a Mahwah parish plead guilty to child pornography charges Friday in Wayne County Pennsylvania.

Rev. Kevin Gugliotta plead guilty more than four months after he was accused of uploading images to the website “Chat-Step” while staying in his vacation home in Goulsboro, WBRE in Pennsylvania reported.

Gugliotta was charged with 20 counts of possession of child pornography and 20 counts of dissemination of child pornography. The charges were the result of a multi-state investigation involving Pennsylvania detectives and New Jersey police, Janine Edwards, Wayne County Pennsylvania District Attorney previously said.

Authorities said some of the uploaded images featured boys as young as 8 or 10 years old, according to the report.

Gugliotta could be sentenced to seven years in prison and may have to register as a sex offender, according to the report. Sentencing is scheduled for June.

Gugliotta was priest of Holy Spirit Roman Catholic Church in Union as the time of his arrest. He transferred there after serving at Immaculate Conception Church in Mahwah.

The Archdiocese of Newark removed Gugliotta from his ministry position after he was charged.

“The Archdiocese of Newark takes very seriously any and all complaints of sexual misconduct by members of the clergy, religious and lay staff of the Archdiocese, its parishes and schools,” said James Goodness, vice chancellor and director of communications of the Archdiocese.

Gugliotta is also a high-stakes poker player. According to the poker database The Hendon Mob, Gugliotta has won nearly $200,000 playing the game competitively.


Kevin A. Gugliotta photo via Ocean County Corrections Department; handcuffs via Shutterstock

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I was sexually abused as a teen by the N.J. priest arrested for child porn | Opinion

NJ.com

The Rev. Kevin Gugliotta was arrested on child pornography charges in October. The photo at left was released by law enforcement. At right, he is seen in a portrait for the Archdiocese of Newark.

The Rev. Kevin Gugliotta was arrested on child pornography charges in October. The photo at left was released by law enforcement. At right, he is seen in a portrait for the Archdiocese of Newark.()

By Anonymous

I am the unnamed sex-abuse victim of Kevin Gugliotta, the poker-playing priest arrested on Oct. 29 on child pornography charges. mentioned in Mark Meuller’s story in The Star-Ledger on Dec. 6.

The article made it clear that the Newark Archdiocese’s statement was misleading if not an outright lie: “There are no allegations that he engaged in similar activities in New Jersey,”

In fact, before Gugliotta was ordained, he sexually assaulted and sexually harassed me when I was a teenager. In 2003 – nearly 15 years after I was abused – I came forward to the Archdiocesan Review Board. Archbishop John J. Myers relied on a technicality of canon law to excuse Gugliotta, since my allegations stemmed to years before he was ordained. Worse, the archbishop then assigned him to posts where he had supervision over children.

Cardinal Joseph Tobin is our own Pope Francis. He replaces Myers, whose neglect has left children exposed to sexual abuse.

The church, under Myers, sat on these very serious allegations, right up until they knew the newspaper would shed light on it.

Today, I want to add insight how perpetrators of child sexual abuse take time to build a network of trust and confidence by cultivating love and respect in families and communities, such that their acts, when they come to light, seem unbelievable.

I also want to speak to the culture within the Catholic church that denies and hides the behavior of perpetrators – a culture that fails to protect children and young adults, condemning them to a lifetime of shame and secrecy from which it is very difficult, if not impossible in some cases, to recover.

After I came forward with my allegations, the Archdiocese leadership’s response was to send me a brief letter stating that they found nothing to support my claims. They made no attempt to minister to me as a long-time parishioner. To this day, I remain incredulous about this decision and I cannot fathom it.

I’m speaking again because things need to change and they need to change now.

As archdioceses around the country and around the world continue to shield perpetrators of child sexual abuse, the youngest members of our society remain in danger. Priests like Gugliotta remain out there, gaining the trust and confidence of families while using them as a foundation to wreak irreparable damage on young people. Gugliotta is intelligent and talented.  He is a self-taught musician. He holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in mechanical and industrial engineering; and he was gainfully employed as an engineer

He was charismatic, and he was always in the heat of organizing or running projects and events with the various groups in which he was involved. Gugliotta was a neighbor and a friend to my older brothers and sisters. He was my Boy Scout leader. He became a trusted friend and companion to all my family. As the abuse began to slowly occur, I had a sense of disbelief and denial, and my defenses were somewhat hindered by our apparent friendship.

I didn’t know how to protect myself as the abuse occurred. Likewise, I do not fault my parents or any of my older siblings for not seeing or stopping the abuse. In my mind we were all his victims, as he violated our trust and took advantage of our sympathy, compassion and friendship. Gugliotta did many good things for me, and others, but it is difficult not to see this all as a part of a grooming process.

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It was not until I removed myself from the situation that I could clearly see Gugliotta’s actions for what they were. Even then it took time for me to come to terms with what happened. I deeply regret that I did not go public with this story in 2003, and I am truly sorry if this failed to keep others from harm.

I was a victim when I was a teenager — and in some way I will always remain a victim until I move beyond this feeling.

To protect other victims, the cycle needs to stop. Perpetrators that the church has hidden for years and continues to protect need to be stopped.  All the steps the church has taken to address this issue to this point appear to be just for show, and lack in any true compassion and concern.

A big cultural change is long overdue. My hope is that newly installed Cardinal Joseph Tobin will find the courage to lead the Archdiocese of Newark with progressive ideals — and that the Vatican takes steps toward positive reform.

All options must be seriously considered, including the ordination of married people and women, the increased power of active laity in the church and increased tolerance for all people.  It is time for all good priests to speak out against their colleagues who are hiding such behavior behind the cloth. And the statutes of limitations for such cases must be lengthened.

The author, 46, is a married father of two in Union County. The Star-Ledger agreed to maintain his anonymity because he is an alleged victim of sexual assault. The Archdiocese of Newark told NJ Advance Media that the author’s identity matched that of the person who brought the complaint in 2003.

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Priest in child porn case had been vetted by Rome on prior sex abuse claim

NJ.com

on December 05, 2016 at 8:30 AM, updated December 05, 2016 at 5:01 PM

By Mark Mueller | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com

Kevin Gugliotta collage.jpg

Thirteen years ago, amid allegations he molested a 16-year-old boy, the Rev. Kevin Gugliotta was suspended from ministry in New Jersey, his case referred to the Vatican for guidance because of an unusual circumstance.

When the alleged sex assaults occurred in the mid-1980s, Gugliotta wasn’t yet an ordained Catholic priest. He was a private-sector engineer and Boy Scout leader.

In the eyes of the Vatican, the distinction appeared to be a critical one, regardless of the case’s merit.

A spokesman for the Archdiocese of Newark told NJ Advance Media last week the Vatican ruled that church law, known as canon law, prevented Gugliotta from being punished for something he might have done as a layman. In December 2004, he was quietly reinstated, free of restrictions on his ministry, and served for years in various parishes, including a long stint as chaplain to a youth group.

That decision, which was not widely disclosed, is now being questioned by his accuser and others in the wake of Gugliotta’s arrest in October on 40 counts of possessing and disseminating child pornography.

Gugliotta, 54, remains jailed in Pennsylvania in lieu of $1 million bail, a spokeswoman for the Wayne County District Attorney’s Office said. He is accused of using a computer at his vacation home in Lehigh Township, Pa., to download and share images and videos of children involved in sex acts.

The man who accused him of sexual abuse in 2003 said he was unaware of the Vatican’s ruling on Gugliotta, calling it “mind-blowing” that the decision appeared to be based on a technicality.

The accuser, who did not file a lawsuit or seek money from the archdiocese, questioned how the church could allow a potential threat into its parishes, particularly so soon after the clergy sexual abuse crisis exploded into national view two years earlier, in 2002.

Greg Gianforcaro, a lawyer who facilitated the accuser’s testimony before a board of church investigators in 2003, put the onus on the archdiocese. Even if Archbishop John J. Myers could not bar Gugliotta from serving as a priest under canon law, Gianforcaro argued, Myers could have at least placed him in a position away from children.

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Archbishop John J. Myers, left, celebrates Mass during the funeral for former Archbishop Peter L. Gerety in September. (Patti Sapone | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com) 

“When does common sense take over, and what about the concern for children?” Gianforcaro asked. “That’s crazy.”

Myers’ spokesman, Jim Goodness, said the archdiocese forwarded the case to Rome after it had “looked into the matter seriously.”

“Since the allegations dealt with a time frame before he was a priest, there was nothing canonically the church could do,” Goodness said, adding that he was unaware of any additional abuse claims against Gugliotta. “All I can say is the direction that was given to us by Rome is that no penal action could be taken.”

Such decisions are made by the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, then headed by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who would become Pope Benedict XVI in 2005.The Rev. James Connell, a canon lawyer in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee and a prominent advocate for victims of clergy sexual abuse, said the Vatican appeared to act appropriately under canon law in determining Gugliotta could not be punished for alleged wrongdoing that occurred before he was an ordained priest.

At the same time, Connell said, Vatican officials should consider amending church laws to eliminate what he characterized as a loophole that could allow potential abusers to remain in the priesthood.

“That’s worth looking at,” he said.

Connell was more forceful in suggesting Myers could have taken action to restrict Gugliotta’s ministry. Under canon law, he said, bishops have a free hand to assign priests where they see fit.

“The bishop of the diocese has a responsibility to be watching out for the care of all the people,” Connell said. “If he knows technically nothing can be done, morally something should be done, so he is not in a spot where someone could be hurt.”

One of Gugliotta’s former pastors — the Rev. John Paladino of St. Bartholomew the Apostle Parish in Scotch Plains, where Gugliotta worked with the youth group for eight years — stopped short of criticizing the archdiocese, but he said he believed he should have been told about the man’s past.

“I had no idea,” Paladino said. “As a pastor, I would want to know something like that.”

Critics of the archbishop say his handling of Gugliotta represents another misstep for Myers, who has previously been criticized for the manner in which he has managed priests accused of sexual abuse. Myers, whose retirement has been accepted by Pope Francis, is due to be replaced by Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin of Indianapolis in January.

“To me, it’s unconscionable that they allowed him to remain a priest without restrictions,” said Mark Crawford, the New Jersey director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, an advocacy and support group. “And then to allow him to be a youth minister? How reckless was that?”

Bergen County Prosecutor John Molinelli says he has no confidence in Newark Archbishop John J. Myers to monitor the Rev. Michael Fugee

Gugliotta, a nationally ranked poker player who has regularly competed in tournaments around the country, was arrested at a Toms River home Oct. 21. He was extradited to Pennsylvania last month.

The priest’s criminal defense lawyer, James Swetz, did not return a call seeking comment.

Ordained in 1996, Gugliotta has worked at St. Rose of Lima parish in Short Hills, St. Elizabeth of Hungary Church in Wyckoff, St. Joseph’s Church in West Orange, St. Bartholomew in Scotch Plains and Immaculate Conception Church in Mahwah, where he served as pastor for little more than a year before requesting a transfer in the summer of 2016.

Goodness said the request was not in response to controversy of any kind.

“He expressed that he no longer felt he wanted to be a pastor, but he still wanted to remain in ministry,” the spokesman said.

The priest had been at his latest assignment, Holy Spirit Church in Union Township, for about a week when he was charged in the child pornography case.

Gugliotta was never charged in connection with the abuse allegations that date to the mid-1980s. The accuser, whose name is being withheld by NJ Advance Media because he is an alleged victim of sexual assault, said he reported it to the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office in March of 2003, the same month he first reached out to the archdiocese.

The man, now a 46-year-old married father of two in Union County, said he was told the case could not be prosecuted because it was beyond the statute of limitations.

Gregorio Martinez was being held in Miami. He is expected to return to New Jersey to be sentenced for molesting a teenage boy

In a detailed letter given to the Archdiocesan Review Board — a panel that investigates sex abuse claims — and in testimony before the board in October 2003, the man said Gugliotta was a close family friend who lived near him in Newark and and who served as his troop leader in the Boy Scouts.

Beginning in 1986, he said, Gugliotta repeatedly fondled him against his will at Scout events, at his home and on family vacations. He said Gugliotta also once spied on him through his bedroom window as he masturbated.

On another occasion, the man said, Gugliotta hid in his room quietly, apparently hoping to catch him masturbating.

The accuser said Gugliotta eventually confessed to him that he was gay and that he loved him. When the man tried to avoid contact, Gugliotta continued to stalk him into his late teens, he said, at one point showing up unannounced at his college in Pennsylvania.

The man said he felt compelled to come forward in 2003 because he realized he was keeping a secret for the wrong reason and because he wanted to protect others.

“I was not asking for or looking for any reward from the archdiocese,” he said. “I just wanted solely to keep him out of a position of power where he could abuse others.”

He said he was speaking up again now because the archdiocese, despite the child pornography charges, had remained silent about the previous abuse claims until questioned by NJ Advance Media.

Crawford, of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, echoed that criticism.

“They have said, in their words, they have a responsibility to be open and honest and transparent with the faithful and to put kids before the institution,” he said. “Clearly they failed at all levels here.”

Mark Mueller may be reached at mmueller@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @MarkJMueller. Find NJ.com on Facebook.

1 Response to “Mahwah Priest Pleads Guilty To Child Porn Possession: Report” & related articles

  1. Mike Fitzgerald says:

    Anonymous – Well spoken! You are on the right track. The guilt and shame that you have lived with will gradually dissipate.
    Keep the pressure on the local church authorities. Myers is a token of the deny, denigrate, and blame era, and thank God he’s gone.
    Tell Tobin in a personal letter how this has affected you, your spouse, and your children. Please tell him that he now has a chance to do the right and Christian thing, and get rid of these vermin who have raped the souls of hundreds, if not thousands, of young people over the years! All the best to you!!! Mike.

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