Silence on sexting priest spurs calls for Trenton bishop to resign

A group that assists victims of sexual abuse is calling for the resignation of the bishop of the Trenton Catholic Diocese.

The Road to Recovery group claims Bishop David O’Connell waited more than a year to tell the parish of St. Aloysius Church in Jackson that assistant pastor Matthew Riedlinger was removed from his position for exchanging more than 1,000 sexually explicit text messages with someone he thought was a 16-year-old boy.

Parishioners should have been informed immediately, said Robert Hoatson, a former priest and the president of Road to Recovery.

“In 2002, the bishops with the Charter for the Protection of Children and Youth made a pledge that they would be open and transparent about all allegations of sexual abuse,” Hoatson said. “This is another example where they have not been.”

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The Ocean County Prosecutor’s office investigated and determined no minors were involved and no criminal acts were committed, according to the diocese.

Reidlinger, who was sent to a treatment program, has been granted an indefinite leave of absence from the priesthood.

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