Newark archdiocese faces new criticism over accused priest living in rectory
CWN - July 22, 2013
The Archdiocese of Newark, New Jersey, has removed a pastor who allowed a priest to live in his rectory after being accused of sexual abuse.
Father Thomas Iwanowski was removed as pastor after the Newark Star-Ledger revealed that Father Robert Chabak, who was suspended from ministry in 2004, was living in the rectory. Father Chabak, a seminary classmate of Father Iwanowski, had apparently sought refugee there after his family home was damaged by Hurricane Sandy. A spokesman for the archdiocese said that Father Chabak—who is now officially classified as retired—had been allowed to live in the rectory “out of a sense of compassion.”
The incident marks the second time in recent weeks that the Newark archdiocese has found itself on the defensive regarding the handling of priests who have been accused of abuse. Earlier this year the Star-Ledger revealed that Father Michael Fugee, who had been convicted of abuse and had the conviction overturned on a technicality, was involved in ministry with young people, in apparent direct violation of an agreement with prosecutors.
Newark’s Archbishop John Myers has defended his handling of the Fugee case, claiming that media coverage has been skewed, and “our decision was appropriate at the time.”
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