HOLMDEL — A Catholic priest was removed from a Monmouth County church after sexual abuse allegations were reported to the Diocese of Trenton this month.

The Diocese said the Rev. Msgr. Gregory D. Vaughan was a parochial vicar in St. Ann Parish, Keansburg at the
time of the alleged abuse of a child, in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

Church officials said they "immediately" reported the allegation to the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office.

Vaughan was removed as pastor of St. Catharine Parish in Holmdel by the diocese, after church officials interviewed the victim and determined the allegations to be credible,  according to a statement.

Church parishioners were notified over the weekend of the situation.

Prosecutor's Office spokesman Charles Webster said no charges were filed against Vaughn after their investigation, as it was outside the legal time regulation to report a sexual abuse crime.

"The allegations were investigated by this Office and were found to be outside the Statute of Limitations and no charges were filed, therefore a referral was made back to the Diocese of Trenton," Webster said in a statement.

Msgr. Vaughan has denied the allegation, according to the Diocese.

The Diocese said since becoming a priest in 1972, Vaughn also had worked with parishioners at St. Charles Borromeo, Cinnaminson; St. Mary, Middletown and St. Raphael, Hamilton (Mercer). Notices also will be posted at those churches.

The names of more than 180 priests accused of sexual abuse were released in February by the state's five Catholic dioceses. Church prelates say the priests and deacons had been among those credibly accused since the 1940s.

The lists were posted on the respective websites of each diocese, which oversee the parishes and churches in their jurisdictions.

Many on the lists have died, while the names of the remaining had previously been reported to police, church leaders said in letters posted on their websites.

The Archdiocese of Newark reported 63 names, the Diocese of Camden reported 57 names, the Diocese of Trenton reported 30 names, the Diocese of Paterson reported 28 names, and the Diocese of Metuchen reported 11 names. Officials expected the lists to grow.

The Trenton Diocese said anyone who has been sexually abused as a minor by a representative of the church should  report the abuse to the appropriate law enforcement agency, and to the diocese through its abuse hotline: 1-888-296-2965.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNJ

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