Newark archdiocese pays $650K to settle priest sex abuse claims

Digital Journal, Canada/May 10, 2013

Newark - The Catholic Archdiocese of Newark, New Jersey has paid $650,000 to settle sex abuse claims against a pedophile priest who allegedly sexually assaulted numerous children in the 1970s and '80s.

The Newark Star-Ledger reports that the settlement was paid to five men who claim to have been sexually abused by Rev. Carmen Sita, who pleaded guilty in 1982 to sexually assaulting a boy at St. Aloysius Church in Jersey City. Sita was sentenced to five months' probation, after which time he changed his name to Gerald Howard and was transferred by the archdiocese to a parish in the Diocese of Jefferson City, Missouri.

Peter Gerety, the archbishop of Newark at the time who has been implicated in at least one other clergy sex abuse cover-up, never informed the public about Sita's name change. While in Missouri, the transferred priest would allegedly go on to sexually abuse at least three more children. He was arrested in 2010 and charged with three counts of forcible sodomy, three counts of attempted forcible sodomy and two counts of kidnapping.

Sita is being jailed on a $1.5 million bond while he awaits trial for his alleged Missouri crimes. The Diocese of Jefferson City has also paid out a settlement, in the amount of $600,000, due to Sita's alleged sex crimes.

Sita allegedly pushed marijuana on his Missouri victims, told them that all "enlightened" people are bisexual and threatened them if they told anyone about the abuse.

Greg Gianforcaro, the New Jersey attorney who announced the Newark settlement, said his clients remain deeply scarred by the abuse they suffered at the hands of pedophile priest Sita.

"Despite the fact that they're getting money, these men are scarred for life," Gianforcaro told the Star-Ledger. "They will probably have to be in counseling for the rest of their lives."

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