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Diocese of Trenton removes Holmdel priest after ‘credible’ sexual abuse allegation

According to the Asbury Park Press, a recent and “credible” allegation of sexual abuse of a child from decades ago has been made against the Rev.  Gregory D. Vaughan, who has served as pastor of the Church of St. Catharine in Holmdel since 2013, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Trenton announced Saturday night.

“The alleged abuse dates back to the late 1970s and early 1980s when Monsignor Vaughan was a parochial vicar in St. Ann Parish, Keansburg,” the prepared statement from the Trenton diocese read. “In the interest of protecting the victim’s privacy, the diocese will not disclose further details of the alleged abuse. This is the first and only allegation of sexual abuse of a minor against Monsignor Vaughan reported to the diocese.”

The allegation was reported to the diocese on March 17, according to the statement.

After the allegation was received, the diocese immediately reported the matter to the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office, the statement read.

“Following our own interviews with the victim, the diocese has determined that the allegation is credible. Monsignor Vaughan has denied the allegation,” the statement read.

Last September, state Attorney General Gurbir Grewal announced the formation of a criminal task force to investigate allegations of sexual abuse by members of the clergy within the Catholic dioceses of New Jersey.

Since the allegation is credible, Bishop David M. O’Connell has removed Vaughan from ministry, effective immediately. The allegation will also be reported to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in Rome, the statement read.

The announcement comes almost two months after the diocese named 30 former clergymen — either dead or removed from their ministries — who had been credibly accused of sexual abuse against children.

Since his ordination in 1972, Vaughan has served as a priest exclusively in the Diocese of Trenton, with assignments in the following parishes:  St. Ann; Keansburg; St. Charles Borromeo, Cinnaminson; St. Mary, Middletown; St. Raphael, Hamilton, and St. Catharine, Holmdel.  Additionally, Vaughan formerly served the Diocese as vicar for Catholic education; chancellor; vicar general; moderator of the curia, and director of vocations.

“The prevalence of pedophilia in the Catholic Church is terrible but no longer surprising,” said nationally recognized sex abuse attorney Jeff Herman. “It’s a shameful abuse of power and trust,” he said.

In November 2011, Jeff won a landmark $100 million verdict on behalf of a client who was sexually abused by Father Neil Doherty, a Roman Catholic priest of the Archdiocese of Miami. Over the past two decades, Jeff has built a national practice and has become one of the nation’s leading childhood sex abuse attorneys and a true advocate for his clients’ rights.

Herman Law is investigating sex abuse cases in New York, with the recent passage of the New York Child Victims Act. If you are a survivor of sexual abuse in New York, Herman Law may be able to help you achieve long overdue justice.


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