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Bishop Checchio's letter to parishioners of St. Philip and St. James, Phillipsburg
January 19, 2019
The following is a letter from Bishop Checchio to parishioners of St. Philip and St. James, Phillipsburg, regarding the removal of their parochail vicar, Rev. Thomas Ganley, also available as a PDF:
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
It is with great sadness that I write to confirm, as you might have heard this past week, that your parochial vicar, Rev. Thomas Ganley, has been arrested for sexual abuse involving a minor. The alleged incidences occurred in the early 1990’s when the victim was then a minor. According to published reports Fr. Ganley has admitted to the accusations. He is currently in custody and as per our established practice, he would then be removed permanently from the priesthood.
This accusation is the first time that the diocese has been made aware of any sexual abuse or misconduct regarding Father Ganley. As is our protocol, we are contacting all the parishes and diocesan organizations where he ministered to alert them of the charges.
As I am sure you must be too, I am sickened and saddened by this development, and my heart aches for the individual who came forward after many years of having carried such a tremendous burden. I am disheartened by this accusation of, both, the sexual abuse of a minor and the abuse of power in a trusted relationship. Any crime, particularly those of sexual abuse, committed against society’s most innocent and vulnerable are morally reprehensible, shameful and criminal.
I want to assure you that in this matter, as in all circumstances involving the protection of young people, the Diocese is cooperating fully with law enforcement. We remain in full compliance with the Charter for the Protection of Young People, a comprehensive set of procedures for addressing allegations of sexual abuse of minors by Catholic clergy. In addition, we are in compliance with the Memorandum of Understanding between the Catholic dioceses of New Jersey and state law enforcement, which mandates cooperation, policies and procedures in regard to any accusations of sexual abuse within our parishes.
I ask anyone with information about this matter or other situations of misconduct or abuse involving clergy or church personnel to contact local law enforcement or the Clergy Abuse Hotline at (855) 363-6548. They may also contact our Diocesan Response Officer, Deacon Vincent Brigande, at (732) 562-2413 or by cell at (908) 930-4558.
We are committed to safeguarding all those who are entrusted to our ministry and spiritual care. We stand with you and as your bishop, I promise to remain with you in a prayerful, transparent and honest way as we walk this road toward healing and peace.
Finally, I ask you to join me in praying for all who suffer from the terrible scourge of sexual abuse, especially anyone who has been abused. Know of my love and prayers for you even while I ask for your prayers for me and the priests of our diocese; and know I am with you throughout this most unsettling time. My heart aches for you and all of our faithful to have to hear this tragic and sad news. Please be assured of my prayers for you and your parish.
With renewed best wishes, I remain
Yours in Christ,
Most Reverend James F. Checchio, JCD, MBA
Bishop of Metuchen