WTEN, ABC-10[Albany NY]
June 2, 2021
By Sarah Darmanjian
A priest from LaSalette Missionaries serving as pastor for St. Mary’s Church in Amsterdam and St. Stephen’s Church in Hagaman has been placed on administrative leave for alleged sexual abuse of a minor.
Rev. Jeffrey L’Arche was put on leave by Bishop Edward Scharfenberger immediately after the diocese learned L’Arche was on the Diocese of Springfield’s clergy offenders list, the Albany Diocese said Wednesday. The list was released on June 2.
There was evidence that L’Arche was involved in the sexual abuse of a minor between 1976-1981, alleged the Diocese of Springfield’s Misconduct Commission.
An investigation by Praesidium Inc., at the behest of the LaSalette congregation, said the allegation was “highly questionable” and deemed not credible. Subsequently, L’Arche was added to the Diocese of Springfield’s offender list albeit with an asterisk and explanation of the investigation findings.
L’Arche denies the sexual abuse allegation.
The reverend, who was born in Guilderland and ordained for the Missionaries of LeSalette in 1975, was added to the Diocese of Albany’s list of offenders as well. Throughout his career, he’s served in Connecticut, Florida, and Massachusetts before serving the Diocese of Albany in 1997.
He served as director of Our Lady of LaSalette Shrine in Altamont from 1997-2015 and was named pastor of St. Mary’s Church and Institute in 2020. At the same time he began leadership of St. Stephen’s.
The diocese said Bishop Scharfenberger acted in accordance with the U.S. Bishops’ Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People and the diocese’s zero-tolerance policy for sexual abuse of children by the clergy.
The Albany Diocese said they urge anyone who was sexually abused by a Catholic priest or deacon as a child to contact law enforcement or the diocese directly. More information can be found on the diocesan website.