Ex-Priest's [CORRECTION: The Rev. Anthony Eremito has been suspended from his duties by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York. A headline yesterday incorrectly referred to him as an "ex-priest." pg. A02 Q 9/25/02] Suit +

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A Roman Catholic official has thrown out slander

allegations filed by a former New York priest accused of sexually abusing an

altar boy who went on to become a priest.

The Rev. Anthony Eremito, a suspended priest of the Archdiocese of New

York, had filed the charges in a ecclesiastical court against the Rev. John

Bambrick of Manalapan, N.J., who has said that Eremito sexually abused him 22

years ago.

The case apparently marked the first time that one priest had charged

another with defamation in a church court. The lawyer for Eremito yesterday

vowed to appeal the case on his behalf.

"My complaint is that he's saying things over and over about Father Eremito

that he says happened long ago and can't be prosecuted," said Msgr. William

Varvaro, a canon law expert who is representing Eremito.

Varvaro, pastor of St. Margaret's Church in Middle Village, said he will

ask Bishop John Smith of the Diocese of Trenton to reconsider his decision

dismissing the case, made last week.

If necessary, Varvaro said, he will appeal the case to an ecclesiastical

court in Rome.

Bambrick has said that Eremito sexually abused him on repeated occasions

when he was an altar boy growing up in New Jersey and Eremito visited his

parish.

Bambrick said he chose to air his case in the media this year after

learning that Eremito was working as a hospital chaplain in Lubbock, Tex. He

resigned from that job in July.

Eremito had been suspended from his parish at Holy Cross Church in

Manhattan in the early 1990s after a series of internal church proceedings.

Joseph Zwilling, a spokesman for the Archdiocese of New York, said Ermito's

name was turned over to prosecutors earlier this year along with others accused

of sex abuse.

Zwilling added that Eremito has been instructed not to serve or act as a

priest.

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