NJ priest charged with sexual abuse in first case by state's clergy task force

Task force formed in September

By FAITH KARIMI, CNN
Jeff Swensen/Getty Images

(CNN) - A New Jersey priest was arrested and charged with sexual assault of a teen in the state's first criminal case by a new clergy abuse task force.

Father Thomas P. Ganley of Phillipsburg is scheduled to appear in court Friday for a detention hearing. He was arrested Wednesday following allegations he sexually abused a teen who was between ages 14 and 17. The alleged assault occurred from 1990 to 1994, according to a statement from the state Attorney General's Office.

Ganley, 63, was charged with one count of aggravated sexual assault in the first degree, and two counts of sexual assault in the second degree, it said.

At the time of the alleged incidents, he worked at Saint Cecelia Church in Woodbridge, the statement said. He's currently assigned to Saint Philip & Saint James Church in Phillipsburg, New Jersey.

The arrest is the first criminal case filed by a task force formed in September by Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal to investigate allegations of clergy abuse.

Grewal said other investigations are ongoing, and tweeted a detective's phone number for anyone who was allegedly abused by Ganley or witnessed abuse to reach out.

The task force was formed after last year's Pennsylvania grand jury report revealed that 300 "predator priests" sexually abused more than 1,000 children in a time span of 70 years.

"Priests were raping little boys and girls, and the men of God who were responsible for them not only did nothing; they hid it all," the report said. "For decades. Monsignors, auxiliary bishops, bishops, archbishops, cardinals have mostly been protected; many, including some named in this report, have been promoted."

Information on Ganley's attorney was not immediately available.

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