|Help Sought in Priest Inquiry
State Police Appeal to Public in Investigation of Brooklyn Cleric Who Is Accused of Sexual Abuse
Albany Times Union
February 15, 2008
First published: Friday, February 15, 2008
WILTON — State Police investigators in Saratoga County want to talk to anyone who might have been a victim of a New York City monsignor already on administrative leave from the Diocese of Brooklyn amid allegations he sexually abused boys.
Monsignor George Zatarga owns a home in Greenfield, and State Police based at the Wilton barracks on Thursday issued a news release asking for the public's help with their investigation. It was the first sign local investigators are conducting their own probe of Zatarga.
Zatarga, 65, was placed on administrative leave in December after he admitted to "inappropriate behavior" with at least five young men during his 40-year career, according to the New York Daily News.
Trooper Maureen Tuffey, a State Police spokeswoman, said the Saratoga County district attorney's office asked State Police to look into Zatarga's activities in Greenfield, where he owns property.
"One of our ways of doing it is to ask the public for their help," she said.
Last month, Saratoga County District Attorney James Murphy confirmed his office was contacted by prosecutors in Brooklyn and was weighing whether to ask the State Police to investigate.
"If we think it's appropriate we will turn it over to the proper law enforcement agency for an investigation," Murphy said at the time. "Beyond that, I can't comment."
Murphy could not be reached Thursday, but Assistant District Attorney Karen Heggen said State Police issued the news release "to be thorough and complete in their investigation."
Heggen said she was unaware if Zatarga had abused anyone in the Capital Region. "There's been nothing filed with our office," she said.
Mark Lyman, local coordinator for the Survivors Network of those Abused By Priests, said he was not aware of any local Zatarga victims. He applauded authorities for going public.
"It's a proactive and positive attempt for them to make the public aware that there may be a predator within that specific neighborhood," Lyman said.
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