Priest at Summit school accused of sexual misconduct, put on leave
The priest who serves as chaplain at an all-boys Catholic school in Summit has been placed on administrative leave amid an active investigation -- apparently into allegations of sexual misconduct with minors -- according to church officials.
In a written statement, the Archdiocese of Newark said it "is cooperating with the Union County Prosecutor’s Office with respect to complaints issued in the past several days regarding Rev. Salvatore DiStefano."
"The Archdiocese of Newark takes very seriously any and all credible complaints of sexual misconduct or sexual abuse of minors by members of the clergy, religious, lay staff and volunteers of the Archdiocese," the same statement from the Archdiocese said.
There were no further details given as to the nature of reported complaints against DiStefano.
DiStefano works at Oratory Catholic Preparatory School, which includes 320 students in grades 7-12, according to the school website.
As of Monday afternoon, the Union County Prosecutor's Office "cannot confirm nor deny details at this time."
Before his current position, DiStefano already had more than 30 years of education experience in both Catholic and public schools, according to a faculty bio page on the Oratory Prep website.
The same bio said “He is also a former member of the New York City Community School Board where he served as Chairman of the School Safety and Security Committee and the New York City Department of Probation Task Force for Sexual Assault and Sexual Abuse Prevention.”
The school administration has informed parents and students of the developing situation and continues to be fully cooperative, according to the archdiocese, which also said it emphasizes "the safety of minors and students is of utmost concern."
The release said that DiStefano’s leave "should not be interpreted as punishment and he continues to have the presumption of innocence until proven otherwise."
After a review and external investigation by civil authorities, the archdioceses said determination will be made regarding DiStefano’s status.
The Archdiocese of Newark said any incident of sexual abuse of a minor committed by a member of the clergy, religious, lay staff or volunteer can be reported to the respective County Prosecutor, as well as the Archdiocesan Office for the Protection of the Faithful at 973-497-4254.
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