Four Priests Placed on Administrative Leave

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Four priests of the archdiocese—three pastors and the director of Priest Personnel—have each been placed on administrative leave following an allegation of abuse with minors dating back several decades.

The three pastors, Msgr. Edward Barry of Holy Rosary parish in Hawthorne, Father William Luciano of Blessed Sacrament parish in New Rochelle and Msgr. James White of St. Vito-Most Holy Trinity parish in Mamaroneck, have had their ministries temporarily restricted. The fourth priest is Msgr. Edward Weber, director of the Priest Personnel Office in the archdiocese, whose ministry has also been temporarily restricted.

Letters were sent from Cardinal Dolan to parishioners of the three parishes Oct. 3. “As is our practice, we reported this to the District Attorney’s Office. The Archdiocese will now follow its policy and protocols, which include having outside independent investigators look into and assess the allegation, before presenting it to our independent Lay Review Board. At the conclusion of their deliberations, the board will determine whether the allegation has been substantiated, which will determine whether (the priest) is suitable to return to ministry.”

The cardinal also said, “This leave is not a punishment, and no judgment has been made about the accusation,” and added that the priests “continue to have the presumption of innocence.”

In the cases of Msgr. White and Msgr. Weber, the Lay Review Board must wait until the civil litigation under the Child Victims Act in New York has concluded before its review can begin.

The cardinal asked anyone with information about these or other allegations to contact the district attorney. He also said they could contact the archdiocese’s victims assistance coordinator, Eileen Mulcahy, at victimsassistance@archny.org or (646) 794-2949.

The cardinal concluded his letters by requesting prayers for the person who brought the allegation, the priest and “all those whose lives have been touched by sexual abuse wherever it occurred.”

Cardinal Dolan announced the assignment of temporary administrators to the three parishes. They are Father Sebastian Pandarathikudiyil at Holy Rosary, Hawthorne; Msgr. Donald Dwyer, pastor of Resurrection parish, Rye, at St. Vito-Most Holy Trinity, Mamaroneck; and retired Auxiliary Bishop Gerald Walsh at Blessed Sacrament, New Rochelle.

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