Beloved N.J. Priest Arrested On Child Sex Charges
Mount Carmel Parishioners Stunned By Accusations Against Father Robert Yurgel
PASSAIC, N.J. (CBS) ― The federal marshals walked up to the Mount Carmel Catholic Church rectory on Wednesday with a warrant and the most unbelievable news.
Father Robert Yurgel, a well-liked bear of a man, was arrested on out-of-state charges of sexual contact with a minor.
"No! He's such a nice genuine, very loving, lovable and funny too. Oh ... Father Bob?" parishioner Hera Cresencio said.
Father Bob, though, has a past. He was the No. 2 priest at a church in Charlotte, N.C. in the late 1990s. A juvenile he apparently met during that time recently came forward with the accusations.
It's unclear why Yurgel left North Carolina, but the 43-year-old Franciscan moved to New Jersey where he took a position at chaplain at St. Mary's Hospital.
He worked at the hospital, but lived at Mount Carmel's rectory. His only official duties were to do an occasional mass at the church and the pastor stressed that he had no contact with the Catholic school children across the street. Still, the sight of seeing him lead off in handcuffs was a profound shock to everyone who works and worships here.
"It gives you a feeling of doubt. You're in a state of shock," parish spokesman Joe Liptak said. "Disbelief at first. You hope it's not true and if it is true you that all the truth will come out."
Yurgel is being held at the Passaic County Jail pending an extradition hearing.