The Diocese of Trenton was informed July 16, 2012 by the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office that Benedictine Father Velanmarukudiyil J. Christudas, who has been serving as an adjunct priest in Visitation Parish, Brick, since 2001, was arrested July 14, 2012 on several charges of sexual misconduct. Father Christudas was formally charged July 16 on one count of sexual misconduct involving an adult; one count of sexual misconduct involving a minor, and one count of endangerment of a minor.
Father Christudas is a member of the Camaldolese Congregation of the Order of St. Benedict (India Saccidananda Ashram, Shantivanam, Tamilnadu) serving in the Diocese of Trenton with the permission of the Prior General of the Camaldolese Congregation, Dom Bernadino Cozzarini, O.S.B.Cam. Our records indicate that Visitation Parish was his only official assignment in the Diocese of Trenton, although he may have been present here longer. Prior to his arrival in the Diocese of Trenton, Father Christudas served in India, Australia and California.
Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M. has withdrawn Father Christudas’ faculties to minister in the Diocese of Trenton while the charges against him are being fully investigated and addressed by law enforcement authorities. The Bishop has pledged the diocese’s full cooperation with this process. Bishop O’Connell has reached out to inform Father Christudas’ Prior General of the charges against the priest, and his status in the Diocese of Trenton.
Our Victims’ Assistance coordinator has been made available to those impacted by these troubling allegations, and the diocese will provide whatever support possible. The Bishop has asked all members of the diocesan family to pray for all concerned, especially the victims.
We encourage anyone who wishes to come forward on this case, or any other case of sexual abuse involving Church personnel, to call our hotline at 1-888-296-2965 or contact us at [email protected].