|Rev. Rodino Placed on Leave
By Danielle Sanzone
October 25, 2009
WYNANTSKILL — Alleged sexual impropriety from 27 years ago has come back to haunt Rev. Salvatore "Sam" Rodino who has been suspended from his position at St. Jude the Apostle Church.
The longtime priest with the Albany Roman Catholic Diocese was placed on administrative leave this week after charges emerged that he "had engaged in sexual misconduct with a teenager in the 1980s at the Blessed Sacrament parish in Albany," stated a press release from the diocese.
Parishioners were given the news during Mass on Saturday and will be told in Masses today in the form of a letter from Bishop Howard Hubbard which was read aloud.
"It was a cold letter. The way it was presented it sounded like Father Rodino was guilty. But I don’t believe it. I’ve known him for four years. He’s the best priest we’ve ever had," said Lindo Signorelli, 72, who has been a member of the parish of St. Jude’s on Brookside Avenue in Wynantskill for 40 years.
A La Salle Institute graduate, Rodino, 58, was assigned to St. Jude’s in 2005. He has increased programming at the church, which just had a festival last month and raised upwards of $10,000, and he helped to increase the number of parishioners, said Signorelli.
"He drew many families back to the church," said Signorelli who had done work at the church for its buildings and grounds. "I think the whole parish is devastated. I know I’m devastated."
"I knew him besides my work at St. Jude’s. We confided in each other," Signorelli said. "I am 100 percent in support of Father Rodino."
The Albany Diocese said the alleged victim from the 1980s recently came forward. The Diocese’s Sexual Misconduct Review Board, comprised of six lay people and two clergy members, reviewed and investigated the allegations and recommended that Rodino be placed on administrative leave.
Rodino — who has also served at St. Bonaventure in Speigletown, St. Piux X in Loudonville, and St. Margaret Mary’s in Albany — denies inappropriate contact with any youth.
Despite this, he is not permitted by the diocese to function publicly as a priest, he is barred from celebrating Mass or performing any other sacraments, and from wearing clerical garb in public, diocese officials said.
His removal was or will be announced at each of the churches where he had previously served.
The diocese, which has a zero-tolerance for sexual abuse of minors by clergy, urges anyone who has a child that was sexually abused by a Catholic priest or deacon to report the matter to the diocese or law enforcement.
Since 1950, the Albany Diocese has removed 23 priests from the ministry after finding reasonable grounds that they sexually abused minors, said diocese spokesman Ken Goldfarb.
Attorney John Aretakis said that there were more removed "pedophile priests" in the Albany Diocese than in New York City.
Rodino had also worked at La Salle Institute in Troy, Bishop Maginn High School in Albany, St. Patrick’s Academy in Catskill, and Catholic Central High School in Troy.
No one has been designated to take over as pastor at St. Jude’s, which also has a school on the premises, officials said.
"I don’t know what we’ll do without Father Rodino," said Signorelli.
Danielle Sanzone may be reached at 270-1292 or by email at email@example.com
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