Thursday, April 03, 2008

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.

24 Comments:

At 2:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh my GOD
this is so surrieal!
That's my pastor! WHen i dound out I was in disbelief! He is such a good man! He made church fun and intersring. I hope this blows over. How embarassed he must be!

 
At 3:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Shocked doesn't describe what i first felt when i heard the news. I feel sickened that this is happening to this wonderful man. He is a wonderful person and would do anything for you. This is terrible.

 
At 3:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This wonderful man had sex with a kid.

 
At 5:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is there no where safe?

 
At 10:15 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

God has already forgiven Father Bob. He will suffer for this, however, for the rest of his life.
I pray for the victim/victims that they may find comfort in some way & that they know God is with them.

 
At 1:18 PM, Blogger Laurie said...

He looks like a nice guy. NOT!
Why don't they just shoot these
people? It would save so much tax-
payer money and a bullet only costs
like $30-$40 per box of 100.
I'll even buy the first couple of
boxes to get it started.

 
At 1:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hope this blows over? He is a wonderful man? Are you KIDDING ME!
I highly doubt the States Attorney would risk this unless they have a case against "Father Bob". He has betrayed us, the church and hurt many people who confided in him. What do I tell my daughter who made her first communion with him along with her first confession? He has totally skued the Catholic Religion to her! When will the Church end this? Allow our priest to marry and clean the clergy of these perverted animals now!

 
At 2:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just remember him giving him a hug last Sunday, he kiss my wife and give the blessing to my 3 months old!! LAST SUNDAY!! Good!! That is one more reason why Catholics may allow priest to get married and stop molesting children. If his is guilty, no Good will forgive him, because he play and abuse the most innocent creatures…no mercy for Robby! Hell for your soul, disintegration for you r body

 
At 7:52 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was shicked to hear this!He's so nice, very relaxed, made you feel like family preist. To hear this news is very shocking. It might ruin his reputation. I hope this isn't true!

 
At 4:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fr. Bob is innocent until proven guilty. Pray for all who are in this sad, sad situation and healing. This is difficult to accept not only to the victim and his family, but to all who know Fr. Bob. DO NOT judge and you shall not be judged!

 
At 4:19 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If Father Bob did or did not do it, we do not know. That is for him and God to take care of. As for the people who are so quick to judge, let's not forget that we are all part of the world and the quicker we are to point fingers, the quicker we are to fall into some type of temptation ourselves. What do you mean what do we tell our children? If your child is going to stop believing in the Catholic Religion because a priest (human like you and me) sinned, then that means "MOM" has not layed the proper foundations and examples of what the Catholic Relgion is. Otherwise, your child would understand terms like "sin" "human" "temptation" and expecially "forgiveness". No one is exempt...we are all sinners in some way. I pray for Father Bob, and for all those who are judging him. A bullet? That's a sound idea. Is that what Jesus Christ would do? I'm sure not. Who would ever think of such insanity? I'm sure you've never sinned...

 
At 7:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

We all must keep this going. Keep it in the publics ear. Tomany Priest that Sexual Abuse children just seem to vanish and slip away. There must be accountability and my hat goes off to the person who had the courage to come forth and expose this person for who he really is. At least this perp was arrested many perps are not arrested because of the victims age. NJ has a statue of limitation that expires at the victims 23 birthday in most cases. Just do a google on NJ Priest and you will be amazed as you read somany cases of sexual abuse towards minors. It is time the victims have a voice.

 
At 10:30 AM, Blogger David Ardito said...

I was in the high school seminary with Fr. Bob and can honestly say that I don't believe word of this crap. Why did'nt this kid come forth at the time or, later, when the whole abuse scandal broke out? A friend of mine recently told me that, because he was having a hard time meeting his mortgage payments, he might call and say he was abused by a priest we had when we were children and the diocese would pay him off and all his bills. I asked him how he would be able to live with himself? I ask this kid the same thing and I'm not even a practicing Catholic anymore. This is Still the USA and we are ALL innocent until proven guilty.

 
At 4:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why would someone come out with this ten years later? Because he could keep it in no longer. It is too horrifying for an adult--sometone the age of a mother or a father--to think it has happened--AGAIN. I pray for the young man's healing and peace.

 
At 5:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

He did it just look at the guy. He should be put away for life.

 
At 10:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

07:21 AM EDT on Thursday, April 3, 2008
By TONY BURBECK / WCNC
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- A former priest at St. Matthew Catholic Church in
Charlotte has been arrested and charged with molesting a boy who attended
the church.
Rev. Robert Yurgel was an assistant pastor at St. Matthew. It was a two-year
assignment from May 1997 to July 1999.
"That's a common practice in the diocese," said Antoinette Usher with St.
Matthew.
Police say that's when Yurgel molested a 14-year-old boy, whose family
attended the church. The police report says it happened at a house, not the
church.
"It was something that I'm sure was very uncomfortable for him to talk
about. It was embarrassing. It was perpetrated by a member of the community
who was trusted," said Capt. Lisa Goelz with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg
Police Department.
Yurgel is now charged with five counts of indecent liberties and two counts
of statutory rape.
U.S. Marshals arrested him Wednesday at a New Jersey church where he's an
active priest.
"WE DO HAVE CORROBORATING EVIDENCE THAT WHAT THE VICTIM DID ALLEGE IS TRUE,"
Goelz said.
Police aren't saying what that evidence is.
At St. Matthew, Yurgel's name doesn't ring a loud bell.
"Most of our parishioners don't know the individual involved," Usher said.
It's due to the short stay, plus, church officials say most current
parishioners didn't attend St. Matthew then.
"I'm sure our pastor will address that quickly and thoroughly," said Usher.
Yurgel is in the process of being extradited back to Charlotte

I DOUBT THE STATE WOULD RISK A CASE AND BESIDES, READ WHAT WAS IN THE UPPERCASE LETTERS ABOVE. HMMM.... INCASE YOU MISSED IT:

"WE DO HAVE CORROBORATING EVIDENCE THAT WHAT THE VICTIM DID ALLEGE IS TRUE,"
Goelz said.

 
At 10:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

you idiots, read this blog, which is so full of abuse cases of married protestant clergy! Marriage has nothing to do with sexual abuse of children. Most pedophiles are married. Most are Protestant Ministers.

 
At 6:42 PM, Anonymous elena said...

OMG!!! And some of us claim to be Catholics!!! Just a reminder;
Jesus said, “If any of you have never sinned, then go ahead and throw the first stone!”
(John 8.7)

 
At 7:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

So far I've read all the news about Father Robert Yurgel...
Could someone tell me where to find this statement???

"WE DO HAVE CORROBORATING EVIDENCE THAT WHAT THE VICTIM DID ALLEGE IS TRUE,"
Goelz said.

 
At 6:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is where you can find the news article on the case.

http://www.wcnc.com/news/topstories/stories/wcnc-040108-mw-priestarrested.25b75fd4.html

 
At 2:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

http://www.charlotteobserver.com/597/story/512867.html

‘You are a liar, a thief of childhoods and a child molester.'
The Rev. Robert Yurgel is headed to prison after hearing from the young man whose world he shattered.
By Gary L. Wright
gwright@charlotteobserver.com
Posted: Tuesday, Feb. 03, 2009
YURGEL

4/4/08 The Rev. Robert Yurgel (rt) appears in a state Superior Court hearing in Passaic, NJ, with public defender Jon Iannaccone at his extradition hearing on Friday, April 4. photo by Leslie Barbaro/The Herald New (NJ)
More Information

* Lawsuit against local diocese is next for victim

The victim, now a tall, dark-haired man in his early 20s, stood in the courtroom Monday, finally confronting the Roman Catholic priest who'd molested him a decade ago. You robbed me of my ability to trust, he told the Rev. Robert Yurgel, his voice sometimes quivering. You stole my faith, you stole my childhood.

“To this day I suffer with horrible flashbacks and nightmares…,” the victim, a teenager at the time of the molestation, told Yurgel. “You are a liar, a thief of childhoods and a child molester.”

Yurgel, 44, was sentenced to at least seven years and eight months in prison after pleading guilty to second-degree sex offense. He'll also have to register as a sex offender.

At the end of the emotional hearing, he was handcuffed and taken away.

But before then, Superior Court Judge Bob Bell, Yurgel and a courtroom filled with the victim's friends and family, heard the victim explain why he waited nearly 10 years to report the crime.

“Until now, you have controlled my life,” he told Yurgel, reading from a statement, never facing the priest. “I was unable to come forward because of the threats and mind games you played. For the past decade, I have lived in fear of you. I feared what you would do if I ever told anyone what you did to me.

“You made me believe my family would be mad at me and would hate me. But I stand here today to make a liar out of you. My family did believe me. My family did not get mad at me. And my family still loves me. Today, I take back my life.”

Yurgel's case is the first involving a Catholic priest in which the sexual misconduct happened in Charlotte. Priests sexually abusing children have become such a scandal in the American Catholic Church that Pope Benedict XVI met with victims during his trip to the United States last year.

Yurgel, a member of the order of the Capuchin Franciscan Friars in New Jersey, was assigned to Charlotte's St. Matthew Catholic Church and Our Lady of Consolation Catholic Church in the late 1990s. The victim was an altar boy.

In the courtroom, the victim's mother also spoke, sobbing as she talked about the lingering damage done to her son by a priest, “a trusted leader of the Catholic Church” who had taken advantage of his close friendship with her family.

The mother, whose son and husband stood with her, hands on her shoulders, said her son has suffered “horrific mental effects.”

“The despair, shame, embarrassment and fear he has dealt with stole much of his normal childhood. As a child and now adult, the happiness and peace that these evil crimes have taken from our son can never be restored.”

She said Yurgel's punishment is not enough.

“You will be incarcerated for less time than what our son has suffered and will continue to suffer, perhaps for the rest of his life.”

Mecklenburg Assistant District Attorney Kelly Miller told the judge that the victim was 14 when Yurgel began molesting him. The victim was 15, she said, when Yurgel molested him in a church rectory.

The prosecutor said Yurgel admitted his wrongdoing in a 2008 taped telephone conversation with the victim when he thanked him for not telling anyone, “because it would have ruined my life.”

Defense attorney George Laughrun said Yurgel was in court to accept his responsibility and punishment.

Yurgel didn't look at the victim or his parents. Nor did he apologize.

His lawyer spoke for him: “He crossed the line. He knows better…He knows he has sinned.”

In October, the victim, identified only as “John Doe,” sued Yurgel over the sexual molestation and accused the Roman Catholic Diocese of Charlotte and the Capuchin Franciscan Friars of covering up the sexual abuse. Attorneys for Yurgel, the diocese and the Franciscan Friars have asked that the lawsuit be dismissed. The allegations, they say, are too old.

In a statement released after Monday's sentencing, Charlotte diocese officials said they did not learn of any sexual misconduct allegations against Yurgel until his arrest in April 2008. “During Father Yurgel's time in Charlotte, the diocese was not made aware of any complaints concerning his conduct with minors,” the statement said.

Prosecutor Kelly talked about why she struck a deal with the priest.

“As the mother of two young children, I certainly understand the victim's desire for a longer prison sentence,” she said. “As a prosecutor, I have to base my plea negotiations on the strength of the evidence and my thoughts as to what a jury would do if they heard the evidence in the case.

“I hope that the guilty plea today gives the victim some sense of resolution and peace. He was brave for speaking out.”

The victim told the judge that he hopes his decision to come forward will prevent other children from being sexually abused.

“I also hope,” he said, “to send the message to all sexual predators that there are consequences for their actions.” ‘You are a liar, a thief of childhoods and a child molester.'
The Rev. Robert Yurgel is headed to prison after hearing from the young man whose world he shattered.
By Gary L. Wright
gwright@charlotteobserver.com
Posted: Tuesday, Feb. 03, 2009
YURGEL

4/4/08 The Rev. Robert Yurgel (rt) appears in a state Superior Court hearing in Passaic, NJ, with public defender Jon Iannaccone at his extradition hearing on Friday, April 4. photo by Leslie Barbaro/The Herald New (NJ)
More Information

* Lawsuit against local diocese is next for victim

The victim, now a tall, dark-haired man in his early 20s, stood in the courtroom Monday, finally confronting the Roman Catholic priest who'd molested him a decade ago. You robbed me of my ability to trust, he told the Rev. Robert Yurgel, his voice sometimes quivering. You stole my faith, you stole my childhood.

“To this day I suffer with horrible flashbacks and nightmares…,” the victim, a teenager at the time of the molestation, told Yurgel. “You are a liar, a thief of childhoods and a child molester.”

Yurgel, 44, was sentenced to at least seven years and eight months in prison after pleading guilty to second-degree sex offense. He'll also have to register as a sex offender.

At the end of the emotional hearing, he was handcuffed and taken away.

But before then, Superior Court Judge Bob Bell, Yurgel and a courtroom filled with the victim's friends and family, heard the victim explain why he waited nearly 10 years to report the crime.

“Until now, you have controlled my life,” he told Yurgel, reading from a statement, never facing the priest. “I was unable to come forward because of the threats and mind games you played. For the past decade, I have lived in fear of you. I feared what you would do if I ever told anyone what you did to me.

“You made me believe my family would be mad at me and would hate me. But I stand here today to make a liar out of you. My family did believe me. My family did not get mad at me. And my family still loves me. Today, I take back my life.”

Yurgel's case is the first involving a Catholic priest in which the sexual misconduct happened in Charlotte. Priests sexually abusing children have become such a scandal in the American Catholic Church that Pope Benedict XVI met with victims during his trip to the United States last year.

Yurgel, a member of the order of the Capuchin Franciscan Friars in New Jersey, was assigned to Charlotte's St. Matthew Catholic Church and Our Lady of Consolation Catholic Church in the late 1990s. The victim was an altar boy.

In the courtroom, the victim's mother also spoke, sobbing as she talked about the lingering damage done to her son by a priest, “a trusted leader of the Catholic Church” who had taken advantage of his close friendship with her family.

The mother, whose son and husband stood with her, hands on her shoulders, said her son has suffered “horrific mental effects.”

“The despair, shame, embarrassment and fear he has dealt with stole much of his normal childhood. As a child and now adult, the happiness and peace that these evil crimes have taken from our son can never be restored.”

She said Yurgel's punishment is not enough.

“You will be incarcerated for less time than what our son has suffered and will continue to suffer, perhaps for the rest of his life.”

Mecklenburg Assistant District Attorney Kelly Miller told the judge that the victim was 14 when Yurgel began molesting him. The victim was 15, she said, when Yurgel molested him in a church rectory.

The prosecutor said Yurgel admitted his wrongdoing in a 2008 taped telephone conversation with the victim when he thanked him for not telling anyone, “because it would have ruined my life.”

Defense attorney George Laughrun said Yurgel was in court to accept his responsibility and punishment.

Yurgel didn't look at the victim or his parents. Nor did he apologize.

His lawyer spoke for him: “He crossed the line. He knows better…He knows he has sinned.”

In October, the victim, identified only as “John Doe,” sued Yurgel over the sexual molestation and accused the Roman Catholic Diocese of Charlotte and the Capuchin Franciscan Friars of covering up the sexual abuse. Attorneys for Yurgel, the diocese and the Franciscan Friars have asked that the lawsuit be dismissed. The allegations, they say, are too old.

In a statement released after Monday's sentencing, Charlotte diocese officials said they did not learn of any sexual misconduct allegations against Yurgel until his arrest in April 2008. “During Father Yurgel's time in Charlotte, the diocese was not made aware of any complaints concerning his conduct with minors,” the statement said.

Prosecutor Kelly talked about why she struck a deal with the priest.

“As the mother of two young children, I certainly understand the victim's desire for a longer prison sentence,” she said. “As a prosecutor, I have to base my plea negotiations on the strength of the evidence and my thoughts as to what a jury would do if they heard the evidence in the case.

“I hope that the guilty plea today gives the victim some sense of resolution and peace. He was brave for speaking out.”

The victim told the judge that he hopes his decision to come forward will prevent other children from being sexually abused.

“I also hope,” he said, “to send the message to all sexual predators that there are consequences for their actions.”

 
At 2:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

OMG...unbelievable!I used to go his masses and became friends with him. Still can't believe is true! That said, I completely agree with previous statements that the Catholic church should allow priests to marry. It is simply natural! How can a human being be expected to be consistenty so kind, so loving, so forgiving, give sooo much to others and yet, not have a shoulder to lean on next to him at the end of the day and to feel AS human as he's expected to be in his profession. It makes NO SENSE, what a contradiction! It is not healthy emotionally, psychologically nor spiritually. The rules MUST be changed in order to avoid future scandals from happening in the Catholic church.

 
At 4:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My heart is broken when I read this, he was a good family friend. One huge problem is that the Catholic church waits for an accussation or a scandal to start background investigations into their priests. Why don't they do it BEFORE they become priests? I mean a real thorough investigation! Many of them get into it because they know they have twisted minds and either, they try to cover it up or hope that their involvement with religion will be able to change them. Others, have such a narcicistic personality that their ego tricks them into thinking that they are bigger and smarter than life itself and are able to get away with well, perfect example here. What a terrible mistake! The church is then (inadvertently) facilitating predators to act out their urges with the most vulnerable-not only the children, but also anyone going through a turbulent time in their life and is vulnerable. Most of the time, the priest have gained the trust of the family and access to their homes; so, they usually are unsuspected predators for their victims. Ultimately, the priest will follow his instinctive, predatory ways (be it a straight man or not!): with a widow,a child, a divorcee, etc. and the church is placing the victims in a silver plate for their priests. Many of whom were molested/abused and needed psychological treatments decades ago, which most likely would have been the sucessful avenue. At the end, these men are left with the cruel reality of living a pathethic life of lies, deception, and despair or living a double life in order to feel semi-human, semi-normal, semi-sane. How sad! Let's remember that they are from this earth, simple humans too, and not creatures with super natural powers from heaven.

 
At 4:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Acting out one's NORMAL urges is normal for all humans, for this reason we have girlfriends/wives boybriends/husbands. We have the urge to love and be loved! We were wired to experience and enjoy intimacy with another person; there is nothing wrong with it. Of course I am not referring to this case or any other twisted ones. Unfortunately, because of the unrealistic rules placed by the Catholic Church on their priests, they end up being robbed from their manhood and dehumanized by those ridiculous rules: Oh, you must be very, very loving to others, but you are forbiden to fall in-love with anyone, that alone have any kind of intimacy or get marry. How absurd! According to the Bible, the only one who was able to control such basic human necessity was the son of God, Jesus. Who although, encarnated as one of us, divine DNA was in him! No other regular man should be expected to live in such abnormal circumnstances. For to do so, it is inviting all types of abnormal scenarios, situacions, circumstances to take place. The mind vs. body will always look for a way to fullfill basic needs as established in several psychology theories. They bleed when they have a cut,they have to eat, drink, get tired, feel sadness, joy, anger and every other emotion, just like you and I do. Is it better to have priests who are married and living a healthy life in EVERY aspect? or Is it better to continue forcing them to hide and lie and feel like criminals for just being human? Or worse, having to become almost like perverts by 'paying for services' whenever the opportunity presents; thereby perventing such a beautiful and pure sentiment as love is!

 

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