New Jersey

Pastor Attacked on NJ Street After Religious Questions, 2nd Unprovoked Attack on Clergy in a Week: Cops

A New Jersey man attacked a church pastor on a Newark street after questioning the clergyman about his religious beliefs, authorities said Sunday.

It was the second time in a week a religious leader was injured in what police say was an apparently unprovoked attack.

Authorities said a 63-year old pastor was walking in downtown Newark when he encountered a man around 7:35 p.m. Saturday, was asked about his beliefs and was hit by the man.

The pastor, whose name was not released, was treated at a hospital for minor injuries.

Thirty-two-year-old Michael Healy, of Irvington, was arrested on charges of simple assault and taken to a hospital for a psychological evaluation, authorities said.

A telephone number for Healy could not be found Sunday, and it wasn't known if he has a lawyer.

On Jan. 28, The Rev. Manuel Cruz, an auxiliary bishop with the Archdiocese of Newark, was punched during Mass at Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart.

Essex County authorities say 48-year-old Newark resident Charles Miller got up from a pew, went to the altar and punched Cruz, knocking him down. The bishop needed several stitches for a mouth injury. The following day, he told the congregation he was doing fine.

Miller pleaded not guilty Tuesday to an assault charge. A motive for the attack was under investigation.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
Contact Us