- Hadmels DeFrias was expelled from the Catholic Church after he was convicted of molesting two boys in New Jersey in 2005.
- He is now teaching English to children in the tourist town of Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, where works at a private school called Colegio del Caribe.
- He told NBC News that he regrets his past but believes that he is no longer a threat to children.
A former Roman Catholic priest who was convicted of molesting two boys in New Jersey is now teaching English to children in the Dominican Republic, according to NBC News report.
Hadmels DeFrias, 47, pleaded guilty in 2004 to fourth-degree criminal sexual contact after he was accused of molesting two teenage brothers – both younger than 14 – while assigned to St. Mary of the Assumption Church in Elizabeth, New Jersey, in 2001 and 2002, court records seen by the New York Daily News said.
DeFrias was sentenced in 2005 to three years of probation, expelled from the church, and was permanently barred from having contact with children in the state of New Jersey.
Fourteen years later, DeFrias now works in the resort town of Punta Cana, teaching English at a private school called Colegio del Caribe.
He told NBC News that he believes he is no longer a threat to children.
“I don’t see the children with those eyes anymore,” DeFrias said. “For me they are children and they need to be treated like children because that is what they are … I don’t feel the attraction. I am not telling you that maybe someday it won’t be there, because I can’t predict the future.”
DeFrias told NBC that he regrets assaulting the brothers, and that he told school officials of his criminal past.
“It is something that is always present and will always be present in my life,” he said. “If I let it go then it’s like forgetting the Holocaust. Then we are letting ourselves open for the possibility that it may happen again.”
He added that he has been in therapy for a decade.
INSIDER has contacted DeFrias’s former archdiocese, the Archdiocese of Newark, for comment on his new role in the Dominican Republic.
The Union County Prosecutor’s Office in New Jersey told NBC News that it was “deeply concerning” DeFrias was working with children.
“We would urge anyone in any jurisdiction to be vigilant and immediately report allegations of such conduct to local authorities,” the office said.
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