MORRISTOWN, N.J. – A New Jersey Catholic priest accused of threatening to kill a fellow cleric with a crucifix-adorned staff can have his charges dismissed if he completes a pretrial intervention program.
The Rev. Frank Hreno was accepted into the program Tuesday, Hreno's lawyer told the Daily Record of Parsippany. The one-year probationary program includes counseling.
Hreno, 51, was charged in April after police said he scuffled with the Rev. Emeka Okwuosa at the Vocationist Fathers Retreat and Conference Center in Florham Park over a car Hreno had leased.
Okwuosa, 37, said Hreno stabbed him in the arm with the metal staff, causing a wound that required 29 stitches. Hreno said Okwuosa hurt his harm smashing it against a glass door.
Attorney Peter Gilbreth said Hreno left the retreat after the incident to live with his parents. A decision will be made on whether Hreno can return to the facility, where Okwuosa no longer resides, Gilbreth said.
The 37-acre Vocationist Fathers refuge is used for retreats, Christian-based picnics and conferences, and the fostering of spirituality.