SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – A New Jersey priest is facing multiple counts of sexual abuse of a child under 14, which according to the Hampden District Attorney’s Office, occurred in Springfield more than 30-years-ago.
The DA’s spokesman Jim Leydon told 22News, Rev. Patrick Kuffner was arrested in New Jersey on November 20 and is currently being held at Toms River without the right to bail. Kuffner waived extradition and was arraigned Thursday morning at Hampden Superior Court in Springfield.
He 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 on a child under 14.
“There is no greater purpose for law enforcement than the protection children. We continue to ask the public to please report any instances of abuse, both past present, for appropriate investigation. Crimes, such as those alleged, should not go unreported or unpunished.”Anthony Gulluni, Hampden County District Attorney
Leydon said the charges are in connection with an incident that occurred in the early 80’s involving three alleged victims while they were visiting Springfield. The charges date back more than three decades ago when Kuffner “was a layperson and while in Massachusetts.”
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.
First and foremost, our prayers are with the person who came forward last year with these allegations, after many years of carrying this burden, and all those who are survivors of sexual abuse. While the alleged crimes date back to the early 1980’s, more than 35 years ago, and involve an incident from before Fr. Kuffner was a priest or even a seminarian, the charges are nevertheless shocking and are being taken seriously by the Diocese of Metuchen.Anthony P. Kearns III, Esq., spokesperson and chancellor of the Diocese of Metuchen
Kuffner is among a list of names of clergy currently under investigation by civil authorities.