NJ Priest Arrested in Alleged Sex Abuse of Mom, Child

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Prosecutors in Ocean County have charged a Catholic priest for allegedly making inappropriate sexual contact with a mother and her child.

Marukudiyil C. Velan, known as “Father Chris” by his parishioners at the Visitation Roman Catholic Church in Brick Township, N.J., touched the alleged victims at their home Saturday, said prosecutors.

Velan, 64, had been assigned to the church as a visiting priest since 2001. The mother told investigators he befriended her family before the alleged incident.

He was arrested Saturday and charged with criminal sexual contact and endangering the welfare of a child.

Velan remains in Ocean County Jail on $75,000 bail, said authorities. Attorney information was not immediately available.

The Diocese of Trenton said Monday it has withdrawn Velan’s ministry privileges while the investigation continues.

“The bishop has pledged the diocese’s full cooperation with this process,” the diocese said in a statement. “Our victims’ assistance coordinator has been made available to those impacted by these troubling allegations, and the diocese will provide whatever support possible.”

Officials from the diocese are asking anyone with information to contact them at 888-296-2965 or at abuseline@dioceseoftrenton.org.

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