UPDATE:: Judge finds probable cause to charge priest with sex assaultDave Ohlmuller is well-known on the North Shore as a Platform Tennis Hall of Famer, coach and father. He also said he is a survivor of sexual abuse at the hands of a Roman Catholic priest and is fighting to prevent what happened to him from happening to others.
A hearing has found probable cause for the filing of charges against a Catholic priest accused of sexually assaulting a young parishioner two decades ago.
Probable cause was found for charges of first-degree aggravated sexual assault and second-degree sexual assault against the Rev. Michael "Mitch" Walters on Wednesday, according to an official with the Guttenberg court. The case was then transferred from the municipal court up to the Hudson County Superior Court.
Ohlmuller, 46, said his memories of abuse came rushing back when his son turned 11. He said he felt intense feelings of fear and anger stemming from his days as an altar boy in New Jersey. Ohlmuller said he was sexually abused multiple times. His feelings made him an overprotective father.
“I’m not a little overprotective, I’m way overprotective,” Ohlmuller said of his son. “I want to know where he’s going all the time, who he’s with. We live in a nice place. It shouldn’t have to be like that here.”
When the memories returned in 2015, Ohlmuller did two things. He reached out for support to get counseling and he hired lawyer Mitch Garabedian, who was featured in the current Academy Award nominated movie “Spotlight.” Garabedian called his client a hero.
“Dave Ohlmuller should be proud of himself for being so courageous to stand up to the church,” he said. “There were thousands of abusers and thousands of enablers and most people were silent. He is a real hero.”
Lake Bluff Man Says Priest Abused Him
See also: Accused Priest Had No Role at Our Lady of Sorrows School, Says Principal
Officials report that Fr. Michael Walters, a priest who formerly worked as an assistant pastor at Our Lady of Sorrow Church in South Orange and who has recently been accused of sexual misconduct with minors at another parish in the 1980s, had no role in the school there and no contact with students.
Jim Goodness, spokesman for the Archdiocese of Newark, reported that parishioners were informed of the allegations against Fr. Walters and his subsequent departure at masses in October.
However, Goodness and Sr. Judith Blair, the principal of OLS, noted that families in the school were not directly notified by the school as Fr. Walters had had no role at the school nor contact with students through the school.
“Fr. Walters is not, and has never been, in any way involved with the children at Our Lady of Sorrows School, or with the children at The Nursery,” wrote Sr. Judith in an email. “In addition, he has not even been on the property since October 2015.”