arrest Catholic priest, 30, who served at Round Lake church
By Caitlin Morris
April 23, 2014
|The Corpus Christi Church in
Round Lake where James Taylor served as deacon.
|Saratoga County Sheriff
Michael H. Zurlo, Saratoga County District Attorney James A.
Murphy III and Saratoga County Sheriff’s Chief Richard Castle
held a press conference Wednesday morning on the arrest of
Rev. James Michael Taylor, who is accused of having
inappropriate conduct with a 15-year-old girl. Placed in front
of them is a mugshot of Taylor.
BALLSTON SPA >> A 30-year-old priest and youth
pastor has been charged with endangering the welfare of a minor
by Saratoga County sheriff’s deputies following
allegations involving a teenaged female.
James Michael Taylor, 30, was arrested Tuesday and,
according to a statement from the Roman Catholic Dioceses of
Albany, placed on administrative leave immediately following his
Taylor was ordained as a Roman Catholic priest of the
Albany Diocese in 2012 and most recently served at Saint Kateri
Tekakwitha Parish in Niskayuna, which also has an elementary
Details of the arrest were released at a Wednesday morning
press conference conducted by Saratoga County District Attorney
James A. Murphy and county Sheriff Michael Zurlo.
Sheriff’s investigators say the victim was a
15-year-old Clifton Park girl whom Taylor met while serving as a
deacon and leader of a youth ministry program at Corpus Christi
Church in Round Lake.
It is alleged that between October 2013 and April 2014,
Taylor engaged in an ongoing course of inappropriate conduct
with the girl. He was charged with misdemeanor course-of-conduct
since it was not, as it stands now, forced conduct.
Contact consisted of physical contact, telephone calls,
text messaging and the sending of inappropriate photos,
Murphy said Taylor used his position in the church to gain
trust and access to the victim and her family, and warned that
more victims and more severe charges for Taylor are
“We also want the media to help us to the degree
that we suspect that there may be other victims out there. While
his name is James Michael Taylor, he went by Father Michael,
which is how the public may know of him,” Murphy said,
adding that he wants potential other victims to know they will
be protected if they come forward.
Murphy said the girl’s parents contacted authorities
Monday, triggering the investigation.
This story, Murphy said, could be used by parents as a
springboard to talk about what is and isn’t appropriate.
“Be vigilant. Be inquisitive. If your kid tells you
something that’s unusual or out of the ordinary, ask
questions,” he advised.
Ken Goldfarb, the director of communications at the Roman
Catholic Diocese of Albany, said a letter was delivered
Wednesday to parents of students at Saint Kateri Tekakwitha
Parish Elementary School informing them of Taylor’s
Albany’s new bishop, Edward Scharfenberger, would
not be making any further statements, aside from the press
release the diocese, on the alleged incident until the matter is
resolved in court.
According to an article on Taylor in the Evangelist, the
newspaper of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany, he grew up in
the military town of Warner Robins, Ga., in a Protestant family.
He first stepped foot in a Catholic church to research his role
as a priest in a high school musical, the article states, but he
went to another town to do so because Catholicism was
“considered cultish in his hometown.”
“Catholics were so weird that I was just curious. I
joke with people that my conversion was an intellectual exercise
that got out of hand,” Taylor was quoted in the article.
Taylor, who is also a U.S. Army captain, attended Siena
College, where he completed his pre-theology training, and
studied at Mundelein Seminary at the University of Saint Mary of
the Lake in Chicago. In the Evangelist article, it states that
was the “year before news of the U.S. clergy sexual abuse
“You learn that the frailties of the human condition
exist even in the priesthood,” the future priest had said.
“There’s something greater to Catholicism than its
members. For some reason, I was able to see, ‘This
[crisis] isn’t the faith,’” he is quoted as
saying in the article.
The diocese released a statement Wednesday that said it
“notified law enforcement authorities in Saratoga County
Monday afternoon immediately after receiving a complaint
concerning a Diocesan priest and his alleged contact with a
Taylor was arraigned before Justice James Hughes in
Clifton Park Town Court and released on his own recognizance to
return to Clifton Park Town Court at a later date. An order of
protection was issued, barring Taylor from having any contact
with the victim.
The investigation is ongoing, authorities emphasized.
Given the nature of the case and Taylor’s positions
in the various communities, anyone with relevant information
should call the sheriff’s office 518-885-6761. Contact: