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January 15, 2019

Former Pennsylvania, N.J. priests on new list of Jesuits accused of sex abuse

Investigations Catholic Church
08142018_stained_glass_Unsplash Photo by Ant Rozetsky /on Unsplash

Pennsylvania's clergy abuse hotline has received 1,862 calls since being instituted last August.

A former eastern Pennsylvania priest, and nearly a dozen more with ties to New Jersey, are on a new list of dozens of former Jesuit priests accused of child abuse.

The list, released by the USA Northeast Province Jesuits (NPJ) on Tuesday, examined a list of priests accused of child abuse since 1950. Most of the priests have left the church; some have been dead for years.

One priest, Joseph Fitzpatrick, served at Newtown Square, Delaware County's St. Anastasia Church from 1997 to 2002, according to the NPJ list. He was accused of abuse of minors in the 1980s, which was found to be a credible after an investigation, according to the NPJ list. Fitzpatrick was impeded, or removed from ministry, in 2002.

Ten different priests on the list passed through New Jersey at one point during their careers, with the majority concentrated in Jersey City.

One, Andrew Dittrich, served on Rutgers’ New Brunswick campus from 1970 to 1977 and was accused of abuse of minors between 1966 and 1976, according to the NPJ list. His actions were reported in 2002 and 2018, and the accusations were found credible after investigation, according to the NPJ list. Dittrich died in 1990.

This list comes nearly five months to the day after the 1,000-page, landmark report of more than 300 priests across Pennsylvania who are accused of sexual abuse.

In September, New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal launched a task force to investigate sexual abuse by clergy members.

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