|Accusations Swirl around Priest
Brooklyn Clergyman, at Center of Molestation Probe, Investigated in Saratoga County
By Dan Higgins
January 8, 2008
BALLSTON SPA — A Catholic clergyman accused of sexually abusing boys for decades in the New York City area is under investigation for similar behavior in Saratoga County earlier this year, a prosecutor said Monday.
Saratoga County District Attorney James Murphy said he was contacted recently by prosecutors in Kings County about Msgr. George Zatarga. Murphy said a file on the Brooklyn-based Zatarga arrived at his office Monday and he has not yet reviewed it.
"If we think it's appropriate we will turn it over to the proper law enforcement agency for an investigation. Beyond that I can't comment," Murphy said.
Zatarga was placed on administrative leave by the Diocese of Brooklyn after he admitted to "inappropriate behavior" during his 40 years as a priest, a move that was reported by the Daily News Sunday. Parishioners were alerted to Zatarga's admissions by a letter from Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio.
According to the Daily News report, at least five men told the diocese Zatarga molested them as teenagers. In one case, the newspaper described how Zatarga told one young man to take his clothes off in front of a mirror, while Zatarga rubbed the youth's shoulder and outer thigh.
Zatarga, 65, was barred from priestly duties and sent to a counseling program in Silver Spring, Md., according to the Daily News.
Most recently, Zatarga was accused of molesting an 18-year-old man at a home the clergyman owns near Saratoga Springs, after inviting the alleged victim there for a retreat.
A call to prosecutors in Kings County wasn't immediately returned.
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