Priest worked in North Jersey parishes for decades after being accused of sex abuse

Gerald Sudol Clergy Abuse

Title: Priest worked in North Jersey parishes for decades after being accused of sex abuse

Author: Abbott Koloff

Publisher: New Jersey Herald

Date: 05JUN2020

The Rev. Gerald Sudol, who spent decades serving in North Jersey Catholic parishes, allegedly began abusing children even before he was ordained as a priest. Later he moved from one church to another, at first injecting new life into parishes where he’d been assigned, befriending families and becoming a spiritual mentor to their sons.

Then the man who was fondly known as Father Gerry would allegedly abuse boys sexually — sometimes more than one at a time — and tell them that God would punish them if they told anyone.

He continued working as a priest for decades after a Ridgefield Park woman told her pastor in 1992 that he had abused her son. The Newark Catholic Archdiocese has known about that allegation since at least 1996. Yet as late as 2018, Sudol lived in a Jersey City parish that included a grammar school.

Three lawsuits filed in May, along with interviews and an examination of church records, shed new light on Sudol’s alleged behavior over decades — and highlight the response of archdiocesan leaders. The lawsuits say Sudol abused young boys at parishes in Wallington, Nutley and Ridgefield Park. One of the boys was allegedly sodomized.

It was just last year that the Newark Archdiocese publicly revealed Sudol had been permanently removed from ministry because of multiple credible allegations of sexual abuse.

It was at least the second time he’d been taken out of ministry because of sex abuse allegations. He was removed in 2002 amid a national scandal involving priests abusing children. But he was restored three years later after being acquitted in a church trial, the archdiocese has said.

Sudol, 66, moved out of a Jersey City parish two years ago when the archdiocese investigated new allegations made by three men from St. Francis of Assisi parish in Ridgefield Park.

A woman says that 26 years earlier, she went to the pastor at St. Francis to report that Sudol had abused her son. The woman, who asked that her identity not be revealed, spoke for the first time this week through her attorney, Greg Gianforcaro, to and the USA TODAY NETWORK New Jersey. Her allegations are not related to the recent lawsuits. The archdiocese settled with her family in 2004.

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