Seneca Falls Priest on Leave over 1970s Sexual Abuse Allegation

Associated Press State & Local Wire
June 25, 2002

The pastor of a Seneca Falls church was placed on administrative leave Tuesday over a sexual abuse incident dating to the 1970s.

Rochester Bishop Matthew Clark said a review of the allegation involving the Rev. David Gramkee of St. Patrick Church led to the action.

Gramkee received counseling in 1993, and an advisory panel recommended then that he be allowed to continue in his ministry based on the fact there had been no indication of repeat behavior.

However, "recent contact with the victim and the discovery and clarification of additional information led to Gramkee's leave," a statement from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Rochester said.

The diocese said Clark's actions are in accordance with new church abuse guidelines passed by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops earlier this month and follow a diocesan policy in place in Rochester since 1993.

"It is painful to have to go through this process once again, and I am especially sorry for any additional anguish this may have brought to the alleged victim," Clark said. "I remain steadfast in my belief that this is the only action we can possibly take."

The diocese released no details about the incident except to say that it involved a minor in the late 1970s.

A message for Gramkee left on the St. Patrick rectory answering machine after hours Tuesday was not immediately returned.

Since April, eight priests working in the Rochester diocese have either resigned or been placed on leave due to accusations of sexual abuse of minors.

Gramkee's case will be reviewed by a lay advisory panel to the bishop, which includes members of law enforcement, attorneys and psychiatric specialists.


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