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
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
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