December 12, 2019 -Springfield- Fr. Patrick Kuffner, 72, of New Jersey, was arraigned today in Hampden Superior Court on three charges of Indecent Assault and Battery of Child Under 14. Initial bail was set at $50,000 cash; he is due back in court on December 17, 2019 for a full bail hearing.
He was initially arrested by the Ocean County Sheriff’s Department and United States Marshals Service on November 20, 2019 on a fugitive from justice warrant and held without the right to bail in Ocean County, New Jersey. He was taken into custody on Wednesday, December 11, 2019 by Massachusetts State Police Detectives assigned to the Hampden District Attorney’s Office and returned to Massachusetts.
Hampden District Attorney Anthony Gulluni stated, “There is no greater purpose for law enforcement than the protection of children. We continue to ask the public to please report any instances of abuse, both past and present, for appropriate investigation. Crimes, such as those alleged, should not go unreported or unpunished.”
The alleged charges stem from an incident in the early 1980’s in which he allegedly sexually assaulted three victims he was chaperoning while on an overnight trip to Springfield. Kuffner was a lay-person at the time of the assaults; he was ordained as a priest in 2002.
Investigators were initially contacted about the allegations after one on the victims was attending a funeral. While in line waiting for communion the victim realized the priest was his alleged abuser, Patrick Kuffner, and confronted him. He then reported the past incident to law enforcement for investigation.
The Hampden District Attorney’s Office’s Special Victims Unit along with the Springfield Police Department’s Special Victims Unit investigated the case along with other law enforcement agencies from both New York and New Jersey.
On April 26, 2019 the Hampden District Attorney’s Office presented the case and a Hampden County Grand Jury indicted Patrick Kuffner on three charges of Indecent Assault and Battery of Child Under 14; an arrest warrant was then issued for him out of Hampden Superior Court.
This investigation remains on-going by the Hampden District Attorney’s Office and the Springfield Police Department.