NBC New York
Published at 11:43 AM EDT on Aug 8, 2017 | Updated 09 August 2017
By Ida Siegal and Ray Villeda
Authorities say a newly ordained Roman Catholic priest in New Jersey has been charged with groping a teen girl under her skirt after surveillance video captured him allegedly following a group of girls and grabbing one of them.
Surveillance video obtained by News 4 shows a group of four girls walking down Main Street in Boonton, and then a man with a backpack comes from behind. He grabs the buttocks of one of the girls, then takes off down the street.
The 37-year-old man allegedly told the teenage girl she was “sexy,” according to the Morris County prosecutor’s office.
The girl told reported the incident to police, and the man with the backpack — who turned out to be the Rev. Marcin Nurek — was arrested on Essex Avenue about 20 minutes later, police say.
He’s charged with endangering the welfare of a child and criminal sexual contact.
Nick Fernicola, who works across the street, said he saw the aftermath.
“Thursday afternoon I came out from my office and looked out the window and saw four young girls with the police, they looked all very upset,” he said.
The Diocese of Paterson put Nurek on administrative leave. He remains in jail pending a detention hearing on Wednesday. It wasn’t immediately known if he had an attorney to comment on his behalf.
Nurek is an immigrant from Poland who arrived in the U.S. in March 2015, and was ordained into the priesthood in July. He was scheduled to begin his assignment at St. Catherine of Siena this month; his assignment has since been terminated.
The Diocese of Paterson said that he had completed training regarding proper conduct with children and his international criminal background check in October 2014 was clear.
The arrest has sent shock waves through the community.
“It’s like a gut punch,” said business owner Peter Borbas. “Disturbing. Real disturbing.”
Bob Hoatson, a former priest and victim of clergy abuse, plans to protest outside of Morristown’s courthouse on Wednesday morning as Nurek faces a judge.
“We need to implement real safeguards for children and that has to do with changing the structures of the church,” Hoatson said.
Cops: Priest touched girl’s buttocks, said ‘You’re sexy’
The Daily Record
MORRISTOWN – A newly-ordained priest has been charged with putting his hand under a teenager’s skirt in Boonton, touching her buttocks and telling her “You’re sexy,” according to court records.
The Rev. Marcin A. Nurek, 37, was ordained a priest on July 1 and was supposed to start a post as parochial vicar this month at St. Catherine of Siena Church in Mountain Lakes. That assignment will not take place and Nurek has been placed on administrative leave and cannot function as a priest, said Richard Sokerka, director of communications for the Diocese of Paterson.
The alleged incident occurred in the town of Boonton last Thursday, when Nurek put his hand under the girl’s skirt and touched her buttocks over her underwear. Court records did not state where the incident allegedly occurred but said the teen was upset but not injured.
The Rev. Marcin Nurek during a hearing Aug. 4, 2017 on charges of touching a teenage girl’s buttocks under her skirt in Boonton. (Photo: Peggy Wright/Daily Record)
Nurek was charged with endangering the welfare of a child – whose age was listed as being at least 13 but younger than 16 – and criminal sexual contact. Via a closed-circuit television link between the Morris County jail and Superior Court, Nurek appeared on Friday for an initial review before Judge Ira Cohen.
Morris County Assistant Prosecutor Meg Rodriguez said the state has filed a motion to detain Nurek in the county jail until the charges are resolved. A detention hearing has been scheduled for Wednesday.
Nurek, an immigrant of Poland, was assisted during the hearing by a Polish interpreter. Nurek’s status as a priest was not mentioned at the hearing but other court records and documents confirmed his ordination.
According to The Beacon, the weekly newspaper of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Paterson, Nurek was ordained in 2016 as a transitional deacon, the final step before the call to the Sacrament of Holy Orders – the priesthood – in 2017. On July 1, Diocese of Paterson Bishop Arthur Serratelli ordained Nurek to the priesthood along with others.
The Diocese issued a statement, saying it is saddened by the incident and is cooperating fully with the Prosecutor’s Office. It also said that Nurek had completed all training related to proper conduct with children.
“The Diocese of Paterson was informed of the arrest of Rev. Marcin Nurek at approximately 8:45 p.m. on Thursday, August 3, 2017, at which time the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office was immediately notified. Since then, the Diocese has cooperated fully with the Prosecutor’s Office in its investigation,” the statement said.
“In addition, Rev. Nurek was immediately placed on administrative leave, his faculties were revoked and his assignment as parochial vicar at St. Catherine of Siena Church, Mountain Lakes, was concluded,” the statement said. (Revocation of faculties means that Nurek cannot function as a priest).
“Rev. Nurek arrived in the United States from Poland in March of 2015. He was just recently ordained to the priesthood on July 1, 2017. He was scheduled to begin his assignment at St. Catherine of Siena in August 2017. His international criminal history background check was completed on Oct. 17, 2014 and was clear. He completed the Diocese’s Protecting God’s Children educational program on April 9, 2015 and he signed the Diocesan Code of Pastoral Conduct on March 9, 2015,” the statement said.
“The Diocese is deeply saddened by the charges filed against Rev. Nurek and offers its prayers to everyone involved, especially the minor who has come forward. Because this matter is the subject of an ongoing criminal investigation, all further inquiries should be directed to the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office,” the statement said.
Staff Writer Peggy Wright: 973-267-1142; pwright@GannettNJ.com.
Newly ordained priest charged with groping teenage girl in New Jersey
Authorities say a newly ordained Roman Catholic priest in New Jersey has been charged with groping a teen girl under her skirt.
The Morris County prosecutor’s office said that the Rev. Marcin Nurek was charged last week with endangering the welfare of a child and criminal sexual contact.
Boonton police say the girl, younger than 16 but older than 13, was walking along Main Street with friends last Thursday when she says Nurek put his hand under her dress and commented on how pretty she was.
Authorities say the 37-year-old touched the teen girl’s buttocks over her underwear and told her she was “sexy.”
The incident was reported to police at 4:55 that day. Nurek was arrested less than a half an hour later. Three hours after that, the Diocese of Paterson was informed.
The Diocese of Paterson put Nurek on administrative leave. He remains in jail pending a detention hearing on Wednesday.
It wasn’t immediately known if he had an attorney to comment on his behalf.
Nurek is an immigrant from Poland and was ordained into the priesthood in July.
The Diocese of Paterson said that he had completed training regarding proper conduct with children.
The Diocese released a statement which read in part:
“The Diocese of Paterson was informed of the arrest of Rev. Marcin Nurek at approximately 8:45 PM on Thursday, August 3, 2017, at which time the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office was immediately notified. Since then, the Diocese has cooperated fully with the Prosecutor’s Office in its investigation. In addition, Rev. Nurek was immediately placed on administrative leave, his faculties were revoked and his assignment as Parochial Vicar at St. Catherine of Siena Church, Mountain Lakes, was concluded.”
(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)