|Retired Priest Removed, 3 on Leave
By Cathy Woodruff
Albany Times Union
March 19, 2011
Bishop Howard Hubbard of the Albany Roman Catholic Diocese has placed three retired priests on administrative leave and removed another from the ministry based on allegations that they sexually abused minors.
Kenneth Goldfarb, spokesman for the Albany Diocese, made the announcement Saturday in a news release.
The Rev. Robert Purcell, 76, retired pastor of Sacred Heart Parish in Margaretville, Delaware County, was removed from the ministry as the result of a recent abuse claim dating to 1957, 17 years before his ordination.
The allegation was forwarded to the Albany County district attorney's office, which declined to pursue criminal charges, and an investigation was initiated by the diocese's Sexual Misconduct Review Board. Purcell has denied the allegation.
Meanwhile, Hubbard has placed three retired priests on administrative leave as a result of allegations that they sexually abused a minor in Albany between 1986 and 1991.
Two had remained in active ministry. They are: the Rev. Alan Jupin, 73, retired pastor of Our Lady of Fatima Parish in Schenectady, and the Rev. Donald Ophals, 77, who served as pastor at St. Francis de Sales Parish in Troy at one time.
The third priest placed on leave, Louis Douglas, 82, retired from St. Catherine of Siena Parish in Albany in 1992 and is under medical care in a nursing facility.
According to the statement from the diocese, Jupin, Ophals and Douglas previously were placed on administrative leave in 2003 following a sexual abuse allegation from another person. The Diocesan Review Board investigated, but the allegation could not be substantiated and the three were restored to ministry in 2004.
The Rev. John Bertolucci -- a fourth priest accused with Jupin, Ophals and Douglas -- was removed from ministry by Hubbard in 2002 based on unrelated sexual abuse allegations.
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