Vineland Priest Admits to Affair With Parishioner, Parish Sued
Rev. Robert Sinatra, a priest at the Parish of Saint Padre Pio in Vineland, has admitted to having a "two-month affair with an unmarried woman” in 2018. Late last month, the woman filed a lawsuit against the parish.
According to the Vineland Daily Journal, in a letter to parishioners on Saturday, Sinatra said he met with Bishop Dennis Sullivan to report the matter and “thereafter ended the affair.”
The unnamed woman filed a civil lawsuit in Dec. 2020 against St. Padre Pio Parish, claiming that the Parish was somehow responsible for my actions with her.”
The 38-year old woman "parishioner and participant in church activities" claims in the lawsuit that Sinatra, 46, exploited his position of authority over the woman and engaged in unpermitted sexual contact with her.
Sinatra denies any claims of sexual abuse, saying the affair was completely consensual. “Although ending the relationship was difficult for me, it was obviously very difficult for her as well,” Sinatra wrote, adding she met with Sullivan in July 2019.
“I then met with the Bishop again, and having assured him that the relationship had ended, and having agreed to seek intense spiritual direction and counseling to prevent any future lapses, he agreed to allow me to continue to serve as a priest, for which I am very grateful.”
Rev. Sinatra also claims to have paid for counseling for the woman since terminating the affair and says he has blocked her phone number and her access to his social media accounts.
The Vineland Daily Journal talked with Diocese of Camden spokesman Michael Walsh about the pending civil lawsuit...
"The Diocese is reviewing the lawsuit, but at this time has no plans to remove Father Sinatra as pastor, as he refutes the accusation and there has never been any indication or report in his past of any abusive relationships in any element of his personal or public life."
Rev. Robert Sinatra has been with the Parish of Saint Padre Pio for six years. He also serves as pastor at St. Mary School in East Vineland.
Source: The Vineland Daily Journal