Albany diocese sends child sex abuse cases to review board

Times Union [Albany NY]

August 29, 2021

By Michelle Del Rey

Cases were named in Child Victims Act lawsuits

ALBANY — The cases of three former clergy members accused of sexual abuse in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany have been sent to the independent Diocesan Review Board for “advisement,” according to a press release. 

The decision came Friday at the request of the Albany Bishop Edward B. Scharfenberger. The clergy members are Rev. James Daley, Rev. Dennis Murphy and Rev. Nellis Tremblay. 

All three have been named in Child Victims Act lawsuits and maintain their innocence, the statement noted. None of the men serve in public ministry due to illness or age.  

Typically the diocese only sends cases of child sexual abuse to an independent review board if the accusations have also been reported to the church. 

The allegations described in the lawsuits include the sexual abuse of minors ranging from six to 15 years of age, and are alleged to have happened from the 1970s to the 1990s. The alleged abuse occurred at St. Cecilia in Warrensburg, St. Thomas in Delmar and St. Patrick’s in Troy. 

The cases are currently in litigation, limiting the diocese’s ability to investigate the accusations in full, it said. But the statement added that the diocese is willing to open an investigation once legal proceedings come to an end, if necessary. 

The Diocese of Albany has been inundated with lawsuits as the two-year period for filing claims under the Child Victims Act closed earlier this month. 

The legislation enabled claims to be filed beginning in 2019, after the Child Victims Act became law. Previously, survivors of child sexual abuse had until they were age 23 to report a crime. 

The “look back” window allowed for survivors to file lawsuits regardless of how long ago the abuse occurred. 

Murphy is accused of sexually abusing a 6-year-old child from 1989 to 1992, until the child was around nine. The child attended youth activities at St. Cecilia, according to a lawsuit filed. Daley faces allegations of engaging in sexual contact with a 15-year-old boy in 1974 at St. Thomas. 

Tremblay is accused of abusing an altar boy along with Bentley at St. Patrick’s. 

The lawsuit states that Bentley “took special interest” in the survivor, identified as T.P., because he had a stuttering problem. Bentley spent time grooming him by giving him attention and gaining his trust, according to the lawsuit.

The abuse began around the time T.P. was 12 and continued until he was about 14. It often happened on Saturdays during which time T.P. was serving with Bentley as an altar boy. Bentley always gave T.P. wine when they met, the lawsuit alleges.

Tremblay is accused of sexually assaulting T.P. on multiple occasions during trips outside of the church.  
The dioceses in Rochester, Syracuse and Buffalo have all filed for bankruptcy in the wake of numerous child sexual abuse cases filed against them under the Child Victims Act. 

The Albany Diocese has not filed for bankruptcy.