RUMSON PARENTS TEE UP PRIEST OVER FIRING

Tearful students gather around dismissed teacher Bernadette Davis, above. Father Michael Manning taunted sign-waving protesters, below. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Long-simmering tensions at Rumson’s Holy Cross parish boiled over into public Thursday as dozens of parents and children rallied to denounce the dismissal of a beloved teacher and to label their pastor an unchecked “tyrant.”

“He’s cold, he’s heartless,” Locust resident Pat Gross, a 30-year parishoner, said of Father Michael Manning, who has led the church for six years. “He thinks he’s a dictator. He doesn’t like to be challenged or confronted.”

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