Montclair clergy
IMAGE COURTESY DDP/UNSPLASH

By ERIN ROLL
roll@montclairlocal.news

Three months after the Archdiocese of Newark released a report identifying six clergy with Montclair ties who had been accused of sexual abuse, a New Jersey law firm has identified two more, including one who allegedly abused a child while he was in Montclair in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

In late April, the Phillipsburg-based law firm of Jeff Anderson and Associates, in partnership with Gianforcaro Law, released its report identifying 115 clergy who had served in the Archdiocese of Newark and were accused of sexual assault.

A report by the Archdiocese of Newark reported that six clergy with Montclair ties had been credibly accused of sexual abuse at some point during their ministries.

The report by Anderson’s office identified two more: Michael Campanalonga and William Crouse.

Crouse was a member of the Sons of the Sacred Heart, also known as the Verona Fathers (now the Comboni Missionaries of the Heart of Jesus) and was in Montclair from 1967 to 1971, but the report did not indicate that he was serving in a pastoral capacity with any of Montclair’s four parishes.

According to a Pennsylvania attorney general’s 2016 report on abuse by priests, Crouse sexually abused a 14-year-old boy while he was affiliated with the Verona Fathers.

“Father William Crouse sodomized a 14-year-old boy while serving at the Verona Feathers [sic] of Mount Claire [sic], NJ. The victim reported Crouse’s sexual abuse of him to Bishop Joseph Adamec in 2002,” the report reads.

“The victim recalled… times where Crouse would take him fishing and give him alcohol until he would pass out,” the report said.

The report also alleges that a second priest, identified only as “Father Ben,” joined in the abuse on at least one occasion.

In 2002, the victim approached Bishop Joseph Adamec of the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown, where Crouse was by that time a priest. The report indicated that Crouse attempted to minimize the allegations, saying, “the victim approached him and Crouse simply gave in and allowed it to happen.”

There is no record Adamec reported the matter to authorities or attempted to identify the other priest involved in the alleged assault, the report said.

Campanalonga’s affiliation was listed as with Archdiocesan Co-Directors, and he was in Montclair in 1983.

Crouse died in 2009. Campanalonga’s status was unknown, according to Anderson’s report.

Fr. Michael Walters, named in both reports, has allegations against him related to his time in Montclair. Walters was alleged to have abused at least two children while he was at St. Cassian in the 1980s. Some of those children have since come forward as adults.

• James Carey: Served at Immaculate Conception Church from 1957 to 1958. Died in 1968.
• William Crouse: Served with the Verona Fathers, or the Sons of the Sacred Heart, from 1967 to 1971. Died in 2009.
• Michael Campanalonga: Archdiocesan Co-Directors in 1983.
• Dennis Cocozza: Served at St. Cassian Church from 1976 to 1981. Deceased, according to the archdiocese’s report, but Anderson’s report has his status as unknown.
• Alan Guglielmo: Served as a chaplain at Mountainside Hospital from 1998 to 2002.
• John Nickas: Served at St. Peter Claver from 1998 to 2004. Died in 2008.
• Robert Svec: Served at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church from 1965 to 1966. Died in 1985.
• Michael Walters: Served at St. Cassian Church from 1982 to 1989.