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Priest put on administrative leave over decades-old child sex abuse allegations

WNYT Staff and Jill Konopka
Updated: February 11, 2020 01:44 PM
Created: February 10, 2020 12:41 PM

The bishop of the Albany Catholic Diocese put an 81-year-old clergyman on leave over decades-old child sex abuse allegations.          

The priest has been retired from active ministry in the Albany Diocese since 2008. He was cleared of similar accusations as recently as 2005.

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NewsChannel 13 broke the news last week that an independent review board was investigating two recent cases involving allegations of sex crimes against children.

"I did have within the year, at least one person, you know, one or two maybe, come forward and you know say to me this happened to me in this period of time. In one case, the priest was not in active ministry,” said Bishop Edward Scharfenberger.

NewsChannel 13 now knows Albany Bishop Edward Scharfenberger was referencing 81-year-old retired Albany Diocese Reverend Daniel Maher in an interview late last month, as the priest the bishop put on administrative leave Saturday over sex abuse allegations to a minor in the 1960s and 1970s.

NewsChannel 13 is still working to track Maher down, but here is a list of Albany Diocese assignments for the Irish born priest, who was ordained there in 1962 and moved here a few months later:

  • PASTOR OF HOLY CROSS (now All Saints) Albany 1994-2008
  • PASTOR SACRED HEART (now Immaculate Heart of Mary) Watervliet 1973-1994
  • ASSOCIATE PASTOR ST. FRANCIS DE SALES (now Christ Our Light, Loudonville) 1966-1973
  • ASSOCIATE PASTOR ST. MARY'S, CLINTON HEIGHTS, 1965-1966
  • ASSOCIATE PASTOR ST. TERESA OF AVILA (now Mater Christi), Albany 1962-1965

During her original interview with Bishop Edward Scharfenberger, NewsChannel 13's Jill Konopka asked if there were any priests in the Albany Diocese under any type of criminal investigation.

Bishop Scharfenberger responded in part saying, "Not currently ministering to the best of my ability. There's nobody in active ministry who is under investigation. If there were, they would not be in active ministry. In other words, if somebody is being accused, or an allegation is put forward, a criminal allegation is put forward that it is the policy that we have always followed that as a cautionary measure you know, that we would put that person out of immediate - we use the term administrative leave."

The diocese confirms this new allegation against Father Maher was received in April 2018.

Per policy, the case was sent to the Albany County District Attorney. It was released in November of 2019 to the Diocesan Review Board, which started its preliminary investigation in December with a recommendation for administrative leave by mid-January.


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