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MORRISTOWN — A non-practicing Catholic priest charged with fondling a 13-year-old girl’s buttocks under her skirt will be admitted into Morris County’s Pretrial Intervention program for first-time offenders.
Marcin A. Nurek, 39, made no admissions of wrongdoing and will be supervised under the program for 18 months. He must undergo a psycho-sexual evaluation, abide by any recommendations and cannot have unsupervised contact with children under the age of 18.
Nurek was admitted by Superior Court Judge Stephen Taylor into PTI on the recommendation of the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office. If he successfully completes its terms, charges of criminal sexual contact and endangering the welfare of a minor will be dismissed and he will not have a criminal record.
A month after ordination, according to the charges, Nurek followed a group of girls down a street in Boonton, reached a hand under a 13-year-old’s skirt, and groped her buttocks over her underwear and told her she was “sexy.”
County Assistant Prosecutor Meg Rodriguez said the victim and her family are satisfied by the outcome of the charges.
Nurek was barred by the Diocese of Paterson from functioning as a priest following his Aug. 3 arrest. His religious faculties remain revoked. He technically is a priest until he voluntarily asks to be laicized or the Vatican in Rome laicizes him, authorities said.
“He will not ever again function as a Catholic priest in this diocese,” said attorney Kenneth Mullaney, general counsel for the diocese. He declined further comment.
Nurek, a citizen of Poland, is in the United States on a religious work visa but cannot work as a priest so he could face deportation, authorities said.
Defense attorney William Ware, who previously said Nurek rejected a PTI offer, would not comment on the PTI admission Tuesday. Nurek answered all questions posed by the judge with the help of a Polish interpreter. When the judge asked the level of his education he did not reveal he is a priest but said: “I finished studies with the title of master.”
Nurek was released from the Morris County jail within a few days of his arrest by order of a Superior Court judge. He has been living at the diocese-owned Bethlehem Heritage in Chester Township.
The diocese has said Nurek completed a portion of his religious training in Poland and the remainder in the United States. He was ordained a priest on July 1 and assigned to start as of Aug. 15 as parochial vicar of St. Catherine of Siena Church in Mountain Lakes. The assignment was rescinded on Aug. 3, before he started.
Born in Starogard, Gdanski, Poland, Nurek completed novitiate and seminary studies in the Pauline’s Order in Krakow, Poland, and Saints Cyril and Methodius Seminary, Krakow. A diocesan spokesman has said Nurek also earned a master’s degree in theology and a licentiate in Sacred Theology in the Bible.
Upon arriving in the United States in 2015 on a religious work visa, he lived in Domus Bartimaeus, a “house of discernment” for vocations in Boonton. He was enrolled in English as a Second Language classes at Rutgers University-Newark, according to background provided by the diocese.
Once Nurek was ordained a transitional deacon, he was assigned to Holy Rosary/Sacred Heart Church in Dover and continued his ESL classes during what is called a pastoral year, according to the background. He had completed required programs on the protection of children and passed an international background check, the diocese said.
Staff Writer Peggy Wright: 973-267-1142; pwright@GannettNJ.com.