Priest, Alleged Victims Come Face-To-Face

Priest: Protesters Exaggerate Complaints

Associated Press/January 30, 2006

Paterson, NJ. -- Emotions ran high in New Jersey last weekend when a defrocked priest came face-to-face with his alleged victims and their families.

Several men who claim they were molested as boys by Roman Catholic priests came to a New Jersey neighborhood Sunday to warn residents about one of the clerics, who has recently moved into the area. They eventually were confronted by the priest, who said he had abused some children during his career, but claimed the protesters had exaggerated his actions.

Many of the men claim they were abused from 1968 to 1982 by James T. Hanley, who served at three northern New Jersey parishes. Hanley was removed from the priesthood in 2002, 17 years after church officials learned of complaints against him.

The men, along with several supporters from the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), were distributing fliers that detailed their accusations against Hanley when he drove by and saw them.

The chance encounter was caught on tape as Hanley confronted angry members of his community and stared down the father of three molested boys.

"You are sick. You are a rapist. You raped my son when he was 9 years old," the man said.

"You're a liar," Hanley responded.

Hanley told the group they had been exaggerating his actions. He also said some of those who claimed they were abused by him were not being honest.

More than two dozen men who said they were abused by Hanley sued the Paterson Roman Catholic Diocese and agreed to a $5 million settlement last year. They claimed that church officials, including former Bishop Frank Rodimer, failed to take action to protect the youths.

Hanley was not sued because he cooperated with the plaintiffs, providing a statement detailing sexual acts he did with about 20 of the boys. The statement also said he admitted to Rodimer in 1984 that he had molested about a dozen boys.

Prosecutors said they could not bring criminal charges against Hanley because the statute of limitations had expired.

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