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Thursday, May 4, 2006County: Passaic
Alleged: James T Hanley
The city's animal control officer charged former priest and accused sex abuser James T. Hanley with three counts of animal cruelty on May 4 after finding a kitten alone in Hanley's car with the temperature approaching 100 degrees inside.
Chief Animal Control Officer John DeCando said he received a call from Hanley's landlord at 280 McBride Ave. on the morning of May 4. DeCando found a group of people who had discovered a 2-month-old, blue-eyed Siamese kitten in the back seat of Hanley's green 1995 Dodge. The female cat was alone with an empty bag of cat food and without water. DeCando opened the unlocked rear door of the car, removed the cat and put it in his air-conditioned truck. The temperature inside Hanley's car measured 98 degrees, DeCando said. "If these people didn't call," he said, "the cat probably would have died."
DeCando said the 69-year-old Hanley was not at his apartment when he arrived, but the neighbors gathered by the car showed a pamphlet describing the former priest's past. Hanley was removed from the Roman Catholic priesthood in 2003 after he admitted in a sworn statement that he molested at least 15 boys from 1968 to 1982 at parishes in Mendham, Pompton Plains and Parsippany. Later, more than 20 men sued the Diocese of Paterson, which settled with the victims for $5 million. Hanley was never charged because the statute of limitations had expired, so he does not have to register as a sex offender under Megan's Law.
Police towed Hanley's car because the registration had expired. DeCando said he issued three summonses for abandoning an animal, leaving it with no water and neglect. If convicted in Municipal Court, Hanley faces a fine of up to $1,000 or up to six months in jail on each count.
- Herald News - May 5, 2006
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