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PERTH AMBOY, NJ—Authorities announced on February 8 that a 21-year-old Perth Amboy resident had been charged with “improperly touching” a 16-year-old boy at a city church on multiple occasions in 2015.
Luis Felipe Batista was 19 at the time, and according to prosecutors, he had volunteered as an unpaid hall monitor during Confraternity of Christian Doctrine (CCD) classes at the Holy Trinity Church for more than five years.
The church is a part of the Diocese of Metuchen, which oversees all Catholic Church’s worship sites in the area.
“The Diocese is committed to being as transparent and open as possible about this matter with members of the community,” the organization told NJ.com’s Craig McCarthy. “Today and in the days ahead, we offer our deepest prayers for all parties affected by this matter, especially the alleged victim and his family.”
“We are disturbed and saddened by this allegation,” the diocese told the Home News Tribune’s Suzanne Russell, noting that their “long standing policy” is to fully cooperate with law enforcement.
The joint statement issued by Middlesex County Prosecutor Andrew C. Carey and Acting Perth Amboy Police Chief Roman McKeon did not identify the victim or provide any details of the improper touching.
“During the investigation it was determined that Batista, who was 19 years old at the time, improperly touched the boy on numerous occasions at the Holy Trinity Church during the fall of 2015,” reads the press release.
The release notes that Batista, now age 21, was issued a summons charging him with endangering the welfare of a child, a third-degree crime in New Jersey.
The statement called the investigation “active” and “continuing.” Batista remains a free man pending the outcome of the criminal charge against him.
Anyone with information is asked to call Detective Wilson Tavarez of the Perth Amboy Police Department at (732) 442-4400, or Detective Mark Morris of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office at (732) 745-4194.
Charlie is the founder and editor of New Brunswick Today, and the winner of the Awbrey Award for Community-Oriented Local Journalism. He is a proud Rutgers University journalism graduate, a community organizer, and a former independent candidate for mayor of New Brunswick.