TRENTON - A priest from St. Martha's Parish in Point Pleasant was arrested Thursday and charged with engaging in sexual conduct with a teenage boy.
Mercer County Prosecutor Joseph L. Bocchini Jr. says Father Nilo Apura, 67, is charged with endangering the welfare of a child and aggravated criminal sexual contact. He was taken into custody at the church Thursday morning.
Police say Apura allegedly engaged in sexual contact with the 16-year-old victim at a home in Trenton in late spring or early summer 2014. In June 2014, the priest allegedly tried to remove the same victim's pants.
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Parishioners at St. Martha's were shocked to hear the allegations. "He's been here a short period of time, but the impression of him is a very spiritual person," says Richard Andrejack.
The Trenton Diocese says it has suspended Fr. Apura pending the outcome of the investigation. The suspension means he may not say mass publicly, may not wear priestly garb, and may not present himself as a priest.
According to the diocese, Apura has served in several New Jersey churches including St. Joachim and St. Mary of the Assumption Cathedral in Trenton, St. Maximilian Kolbe in Toms River, and St. Ann in Keansburg.
Apura is being held at the Mercer County Correction Center in lieu of $100,000 cash or bond bail.
Anyone with information on the case is asked to call the prosecutor's Special Victims Unit at 609-989-6568.