A New Jersey Catholic priest has been suspended for sending sexual text messages to a man who he thought was a 16-year-old boy.
USA Today reports that Reverend Matthew Riedlinger was suspended by Bishop David O’Connell for violating his priestly vows. Riedlinger reportedly sexted and had sexual online conversations with a man posing as a minor. O’Connell said that Riedlinger hurt the entire Catholic community with his actions and he is seeking help for Riedlinger.
This isn’t the first time that the priest has been involved in a scandal as the church first received complaints of Riedlinger’s sexual behavior in 2011. The priest allegedly harassed 23-year-old Timothy Schmalz sexually and entered outpatient treatment following the incident. After it became clear that Riedlinger was not healed, O’Connell took a stance by suspending the reverend.
It is still unclear whether or not any legal action will be taken on Riedlinger but O’Connell has turned the priest over to county prosecutors and said that the diocese will cooperate with any investigation.