Springfield residents discuss child sexual abuse charges against New Jersey priest

Hampden County

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Some people are crediting the #MeToo movement following the arrest of a priest from New Jersey who’s facing child sex abuse charges here in western Massachusetts.

Father Patrick Kuffner was not a member of the clergy when the alleged assault took place. He allegedly sexually assaulted three victims while chaperoning them on a trip to Springfield in the 1980s.

One of the victims came forward after seeing Father Kuffner years later at a funeral. A local man says recent movements have empowered people of all backgrounds to come forward about sexual assault.

“I believe that it’s the #MeToo movement,” said James Torrey of Chicopee. “I mean nowadays people are much more openly coming forward with allegations like this and you have to understand that these things are very serious and they’re very difficult to talk about.”

Kuffner became ordained as a priest in 2002.

Initial bail was set at $50,000. Kuffner is due back in court on December 17 for a full bail hearing.

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