Vatican has defrocked six priests

N.Y. clergymen accused or convicted of sex abuse

July 10, 2005|By NEW YORK TIMES NEWS SERVICE

NEW YORK - The Vatican has expelled six New York priests either accused or convicted of sexual abuse, including one man who was convicted of sodomizing a teenager in an upstate church rectory.

Joseph G. Zwilling, a spokesman for the Archdiocese of New York, said yesterday in a phone interview that all six men had lost their pensions and that they could no longer perform church sacraments. "They are no longer priests, period," he said. Defrocking is the harshest penalty the Roman Catholic Church can impose on a priest.

The six priests, who were first identified in Catholic New York, a monthly magazine published by the archdiocese, served in parishes throughout the state. Their punishment was reported yesterday in Newsday and The New York Post .

Daniel Calabrese was a priest in Staten Island and upstate New York. He pleaded guilty in 1992 to performing oral sex on a 16-year-old boy in a Poughkeepsie, N.Y., rectory, after giving the teenager vodka. He served 90 days in a Dutchess County jail.

Patrick Quigley, who pleaded guilty in the early 1990s to soliciting adolescent boys for sex in Rockland County, served as a priest in Manhattan, Staten Island and Rockland County.

The four other ex-priests - Ralph LaBelle, Francis Stinner, Kenneth Jesselli and David Carson - had been assigned to churches in the Bronx and Westchester, Orange, Sullivan and Putnam counties.

A seventh man accused of sexual abuse, the Rev. Alfred Gallant, was permitted to keep his pension and title as a priest under a provision allowing "those of advanced age or infirmity to live a life of prayer and penance," Zwilling said. "That means they cannot function as priests, serving Mass or performing the sacraments."

Zwilling declined to provide details of the allegations against Gallant, LaBelle, Stinner, Jesselli and Carson.

He said the seven men were among the 30 New York area priests accused of sexual abuse whose cases were turned over to the Vatican in 2002 by Cardinal Edward M. Egan, the archbishop of New York.

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