Priest Says Jersey Church Retaliated for Testimony

By Robin Washington
Boston Herald [Boston MA]
June 5, 2003

A New Jersey priest removed as a school administrator after testifying against alleged molester clergy - including Boston's Monsignor Frederick Ryan - accused the church of retaliation yesterday.

The Rev. Robert Hoatson said he was fired May 23 as director of schools at Newark's Church of Our Lady of Good Counsel three days after speaking on clergy sexual abuse to New York's legislature. He said his supervisor previously confronted him about his deposition against Ryan. "He held up the Boston Herald and said `I understand you're helping in (a case) in Boston,' " Hoatson said, adding officials called his comments before New York lawmakers "incendiary."

"After the bishop reminded me I must tone down my language, he told me I was being relieved of my duties," he said, calling the dismissal "retaliation."

A spokesman for the Archdiocese of Newark said Hoatson "appears to be a troubled man" and defended the archdiocese's handling of the clergy sex abuse issue.

Jim Goodness, the archdiocesan spokesman, said there was "not a single priest in this diocese who is in ministry today against whom an allegation has been lodged."

A former Christian Brother who worked at West Roxbury's Catholic Memorial High School from 1981-85, Hoatson said he warned school officials about possible inappropriate behavior by Ryan, then vice chancellor of the archdiocese, but regretted not taking stronger action.

But plaintiff David Carney praised him for speaking out now.

"It breaks my heart. He's done nothing bad, and they're trying to shut him up," Carney said.


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