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NJ priests trade restraining orders after argument over a car leads to death threat

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A 50-year-old Catholic priest was accused of threatening to kill a colleague at their New Jersey retreat over use of a car at the facility, the Asbury Park Press reported on Wednesday.

Rev. Frank P. Hreno was charged with making a terroristic threat during an appearance in state Superior Court on Tuesday. He is due back in court on June 10.

The charge against Hreno stems from an April 18 confrontation with 37-year-old Rev. Emeka Okwuosa at the Vocationist Fathers Retreat and Conference Center in Florham Park. Hreno, who is listed as the facility’s director, allegedly began arguing with Okwuosa over the use of a car Hreno leased and kept there. Okwuosa allegedly believed the car was meant for community use.

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The Florham Park Eagle reported that Okwuosa told authorities that Hreno attacked him with a crucifix attached at the end of a four-foot staff. Police found Okwuosa bleeding from the arm, but Hreno has argued that Okwuosa caused the injury by swinging his arm through a glass door. To date, Hreno has not been charged with assault.

Each priest reportedly sought temporary restraining orders against one another, which were permitted under state law because they both lived at the facility. A local judge declined to make the mutual orders permanent, however, and Hreno agreed to move in with his parents, who live in the area, after he and Okwuosa were ordered to avoid contact with one another.

Watch WCBS-TV’s report on the incident, as aired on Wednesday, below.

[Image: “Angry Priest Holding A Bible,” via Shutterstock]

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