Newark Archdiocese confirms suspension of priest accused of child abuse

The Star-Ledger, New Jersey/September 11, 2008

The Newark Archdiocese confirmed the suspension of an Elizabeth and Jersey City priest convicted of child abuse after a national victims support group today complained church leaders had failed to disclose the case.

Daniel Medina was arrested in 2004 on unspecified charges of abuse to a male minor in mid-1999 and pleaded guilty this summer to fourth-degree child abuse, according to the Union County prosecutor's office. The prosecutor's office said he was sentenced to three years of probation.

The archdiocese said Medina was placed on administrative leave in 2002 and suspended this summer following the sentencing. He now faces a church trial that could lead his being defrocked.

Medina, 41, was ordained in 1998 and served at Blessed Sacrament Church in Elizabeth and St. Aloysius Church in Jersey City until 2002.

But leaders of SNAP, a national support group that came to prominence in the priest sex abuse scandal of the last decade, said Newark Archbishop John J. Myers never disclosed the case and the group only learned of it when the archdiocese sent out an alert to other bishops this summer.

"If Archbishop Myers is warning 190 of his colleagues, he should be warning the public," David Clohessy, national director of SNAP, said today at a press conference outside the archdiocese offices in Newark.

"Like 15 other bishops have done across the country," added Mark Crawford, SNAP's New Jersey director, "we feel it is absolutely necessary to release the names and even the addresses of all credibly accused clergy."

Archdiocese spokesman James Goodness said proper procedures were followed and Medina was immediately placed on leave when the allegations surfaced. The archdiocese's formal review and suspension came after the legal case ran its course, he said.

"He's been out of the ministry from the time we were aware of the allegations," Goodness said. "The system worked all around."

Goodness said Medina's arrest was a matter of public record and parishioners in Elizabeth would have been aware of it. But he said the formal announcement to that parish and the one in Jersey City would not come until the archdiocese makes its filing for the canonical trial, which he said will be soon.

Medina's current employment is unclear, but Goodness said he is not involved in any church work.

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