SPRINGFIELD, Mass (WWLP) – A New Jersey priest who is facing multiple counts of sexual abuse of a child under 14 was arraigned in Springfield Thursday morning.
Hampden County District Attorney Office spokesman Jim Leydon told 22News, 72-year-old Rev. Patrick Kuffner was arrested by Ocean County Sheriff’s Department and United States Marshals Service in Ocean County, New Jersey on November 20 and was being held without the right to bail.
Massachusetts State Police assigned to the Hampden District Attorney’s Office returned Kuffner to Massachusetts on December 11.
“There is no greater purpose for law enforcement than the protection of children. We continue to ask the public to please report any instances of abuse, both past and present, for appropriate investigation. Crimes, such as those alleged, should not go unreported or unpunished.”Hampden District Attorney Anthony Gulluni
Kuffner was arraigned Thursday morning at Hampden Superior Court in Springfield and is being held on a $50,000 bail until his bail hearing on December 17.
Kuffner has been indicted by a Hampden County Grand Jury on three charges of indecent assault and battery of a child under 14.
Watch the full court arraignment here:
Leydon said the charges are in connection with an incident that occurred in the early 1980s “in which he allegedly sexually assaulted three victims he was chaperoning while on an overnight trip to Springfield.” The charges date back more than three decades ago when Kuffner “was a lay-person and while in Massachusetts.”
One of the victims attending a funeral saw the priest was Patrick Kuffner and reported him to investigators.
The priest was ordained in 2002 and was not a member of the clergy at the time of the alleged abuse. The Diocese of Metuchen lists Kuffner as a former pastor of Our Lady of Mount Virgin Parish in Middlesex.
Kuffner is among a list of names of clergy currently under investigation by civil authorities.
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