Albany, NY (News10) – A priest of LaSallet Missionaries serving as pastor of St. Mary’s Church in Amsterdam and St. Stephen’s Church in Hagman has been placed on administrative leave for alleged sexual abuse of a minor.
The Rev. Geoffrey L’Arche was put on leave by Bishop Edward Scharfenberger after the diocese learned that the clergy of L’Arche Springfield were on the diocese of the Criminal List, the Albany Diocese said on Wednesday. The list was released on June 2.
There was evidence that L’Arch was involved in the sexual abuse of a minor between 1976–1981, charged the Diocese of Springfield’s Misconduct Commission.
An investigation conducted by Presidium Inc., at the behest of the LaSallet congregation, said the allegation was “highly suspicious” and not considered credible. Subsequently, L’Arche was added to the Diocese of Springfield’s criminal list, albeit with an asterisk and explanation of the findings of the investigation.
L’Arche has denied the allegation of sexual abuse.
The Reverend, who was born in Guilderland and ordained to the Missionaries of Leslet in 1975, was also added to the Diocese of Albany’s list of guilds. Throughout his career, he has served in Connecticut, Florida, and Massachusetts before serving the Diocese of Albany in 1997.
He served as director of Our Lady of LaSallet Shrine in Altamont from 1997-2015 and was named pastor of St. Mary’s Church and Institute in 2020. At the same time he began to lead St. Stephen’s.
The diocese said that Bishop Scharfenberger acted in accordance with the US Episcopal Charter for the Protection of Children and Youth and the diocese’s zero-tolerance policy for sexual abuse of children by clergy.
The Albany Diocese said they urge anyone who was sexually abused as a child by a Catholic priest or deacon to contact law enforcement or the diocese directly. More information can be found at diocese website.
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