Former pastor of St. Veronica Church in Howell arrested by clergy sex abuse task force

Asbury Park Press/September 20, 2019

By Kathleen Hopkins and Andrew J. Goudsward

Trention – A retired, former pastor of St. Veronica Roman Catholic Church in Howell has been arrested and charged with sexually assaulting an underage girl in the 1990s, authorities said.

The Rev. Brendan Williams, 78, who now resides in a retirement community for Catholic clergy in Lawrence, was arrested Friday and charged with second-degree sexual assault related to criminal sexual contact on a victim who was younger than 13, Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal and Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni said in a news release.

Williams was pastor of St. Veronica Roman Catholic Church in Howell when the alleged criminal acts occurred between 1997 and 1999, the news release said. He is alleged to have touched the victim’s intimate parts with his hands on at least three occasions during that time period – twice in Colts Neck and once at a location in Ocean County, the news release said.

Williams is the second priest to be charged in criminal cases filed by the New Jersey Clergy Abuse Task Force, which was formed by Grewal in September 2018 to investigate allegations of clergy abuse.

Last month, the task force secured a four-year prison term for the Rev. Thomas Ganley for sexually assaulting a teenage girl in the early 1990s, while he was at St. Cecelia Roman Catholic Church in the Iselin section of Woodbridge.

Williams was arrested by members of the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office who are assigned to the task force.

The investigation started with a call to the Clergy Abuse Task Force Hotline, the news release said.

“Once again a call to our hotline has led to a thorough investigation by members of our Clergy Abuse Task Force and charges against a priest who allegedly assaulted a young girl many years ago,” state Attorney General Grewal said in the news release.  “No person is above the law and we want survivors to know that, despite the passage of time, justice may still be within reach.”

To see more documents/articles regarding this group/organization/subject click here