No Proof or Evidence of Wrongdoing in Case of Suspended Priest
By Elizabeth Doran
December 9, 2016
|Rev. Paul Angelicchio (right), conducts a Mass at Holy Family Church in Fairmount in October 2003. This week the Syracuse Catholic Diocese put The Rev. Paul F. Angelicchio, pastor of St. John the Baptist and Transfiguration parish in Rome, on administrative leave as church officials investigate an allegation of abuse involving a minor 27 years ago. (Gary Walts | Syracuse.com, file photo, 2003)|
Onondaga County District Attorney William Fitzpatrick said today his office investigated an allegation against Rev. Paul F. Angelicchio and found no proof, evidence or corroborating witness to back up the allegation.
Angelicchio, a priest for decades in the Syracuse area and more recently in Rome in Oneida County, has been placed on leave by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Syracuse while it investigates a claim of abuse that is alleged to have happened 27 years ago, a diocese spokeswoman confirmed this week. Angelicchio is pastor of St. John the Baptist and Transfiguration parish in Rome.
Fitzpatrick said when the allegation against Angelicchio surfaced, his office investigated and found nothing to back up the claim - no physical evidence, no crime and no corroborating witness. In addition, the alleged crime was decades old, thus the statute of limitations had run out, he said.
In addition, Angelicchio vehemently denied the allegation, Fitzpatrick said.
Fitzpatrick said his office determined Angelicchio "was not a clear and present danger to any minors,'' and turned the allegation over to the Syracuse diocese, the DA's normal practice.
The DA said he concluded there was no reason to institute any safeguards with regard to Angelicchio. "That speaks to my opinion'' of the allegation made against the priest, he said.
The allegation involving Angelicchio is that he was aware of an instance of sex abuse involving a minor, but was not the perpetrator, according to a source close to the investigation.
The priest is well known in the Syracuse area.
Before Angelicchio became pastor in Rome in 2011, the priest worked for years at Our Lady of Pompei/St. Peter Church in Syracuse and Holy Family Church in Fairmount. He also was a parish priest at Our Lady of Lourdes Church on Valley Drive in Syracuse during the the 1980s. From 1977 to 1999, he also served as police chaplain for the Syracuse department.
The decision to turn accusations or allegations over to the diocese is common practice for the DA's office, and in part stems from a 2015 memorandum of understanding between Catholic Bishop Robert Cunningham and the seven district attorneys in the diocese. In that agreement, the diocese agreed to report all accusations against priests to the prosecutors.
Although not specifically spelled out in the agreement, the Onondaga County DA's office informs the diocese of allegations in the spirit of cooperation, said Rick Trunfio, Onondaga County's first chief assistant district attorney.
The DA's office typically informs an institution such as the diocese or a school if there are allegations involving an employee as a matter of courtesy, he said.