The Diocese of Camden has permanently removed from ministry Father Michael H. D’Amico, 65, former pastor of St. Michael’s parish in Atlantic City, following a substantiated allegation of sexual abuse of a minor.
The allegation was brought to the attention of the diocese in April by an adult male, now 54, who said he was abused as a youth on several occasions when Father D’Amico was assigned at Most Holy Redeemer Parish in Westville Grove, New Jersey in 1964.
Father D’Amico was permanently removed from ministry on May 1 and he may longer function or present himself as a priest, a process called for in the “Essential Norms for Diocesan Policies Dealing with Allegations of Sexual Abuse of Minors by Priests or Deacons” approved by the U.S. bishops in 2002. In accordance with its policy of reporting all allegations of sexual abuse of minors to law enforcement—no matter how long ago the abuse is alleged to have occurred—the diocese reported the allegation to the Gloucester County Prosecutor’s Office, the county in which the abuse occurred, and to the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office, the county in which D’Amico was then serving.
The public announcement of the removal has awaited a meeting between Bishop Joseph Galante and the victim, which was held two weeks ago. In addition to the meeting with the bishop, assistance and professional counseling has been offered to the victim through the diocese’s Victims Assistance Program.
D’Amico was ordained in 1964 and served in five South Jersey parishes until his removal this past spring: St. Augustine, Ocean City (1964), Most Holy Redeemer, Westville Grove (1964-65), St. Michael, Atlantic City (1965-1975 and 1998-2005), St. Frances Cabrini, Ocean City (1975-1996 and 1996-98), St. Peter, Pleasantville (1996). He also served on the faculty at Holy Spirit High School (1965-1972, 1973-75).
The diocese has not received any other allegations of sexual abuse against D’Amico and it is the first time since the U.S. bishops’ “Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People” was adopted in 2002 that a priest of the Diocese of Camden in parish ministry has been removed due to a substantiated allegation of sexual abuse of a minor.