PATERSON, NJ – A priest formerly serving at Our Lady of the Lake has been included on a the list of nearly 200 priests who have been credibly accused of sexual abuse of a child, according to information released by New Jersey Roman Catholic bishops on Wednesday.
As is the case with most of the accused on the list William Cramer is no longer serving as a priest. According to the Diocese of Paterson Cramer was removed from ministry in June of 2002. Most on the list are either dead or no longer working in the church. Further, most of the allegations were made decades ago.
State Attorney General Gurbir Grewal said in a statement he was “pleased to see that our task force’s grand jury investigation has prompted the dioceses to finally take some measures to hold predator priests accountable.” Grewal had established a task force last fall to investigate sexual abuse by clergy in the Catholic dioceses of New Jersey.
According to BishopsAccountability.org, a mother told the diocese Cramer had abused her two sons. Cramer was transferred to Our Lady of the Valley in Wayne. The family reported the incident to the police in 1985. He was convicted in 1988 and was given a sentence of three years probation. Each child received $38,000 in a civil suit the clearinghouse website reports.
According to BishopAccountabillity.org Cramer had admitted he improperly touched the two boys who were 11 and 14 years-old at the time. The boys were being counseled by Cramer while their family was going through a divorce according to reports in The Record.
After his time at Our Lady of the Valley, Cramer worked in Boonton at Our Lady of Mount Carmel until he resigned following an indictment according BishopAccountability. The website said Cramer pleaded guilty in 1988 to two counts of endangering the welfare of a child resulting in a sentence of three years’ probation.
From 1985 until 1991 BishopAccountability reports he was on a leave of absence.
In 1991 Cramer served as chaplain at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Paterson. Cramer was placed on leave in 2002, at which time he hired a canon lawyer to fight his suspension according to BishopAccountability.org.
In October of 2012 the Boy Scouts placed Cramer on their “Perversion Files;” a national list of leaders accused of being molesters.
In his letter to the diocese, Paterson Bishop Arthur Serratelli said the reason for releasing the list of 28 individuals who had served as priests or deacons of the Diocese of Paterson was “that we recognize the great harm done by persons who were supposed to represent Christ to the world and instead committed heinous acts against minors. We also invite any additional victims who were abused by priests or deacons to come forward to civil authorities.”
Serratelli’s letter also includes contact information for anyone wishing to report abuse: “The Diocese of Paterson is requesting that any person who was the victim of sexual abuse by a Diocese of Paterson priest, deacon, teacher or employee, please contact the Attorney General's Hotline at 855-363-6548 and/or the Paterson Diocese at (973) 777-8818 to report the name of any individual priest, deacon, teacher or employee of the Diocese who you believe has engaged in the illegal sexual abuse of a minor, regardless of whether the individual is still working for the Diocese.
Survivors and others with information pertaining to priests’ sexual abuse are asked to contact the attorney general’s toll-free tip line at 855-363-6548.
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