Former St. Thomas Priest and National Boy Scout Chaplain Father Gregory Weider placed on Albany Diocese list of credibly accused

Spotlight News [Delmar NY]

May 15, 2022

By John McIntyre

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany placed the Former National Chaplain of the Boy Scouts of America and St. Thomas the Apostle priest on its list of credibly accused of abuse.

The diocese removed Father Gregory Weider from public ministry on Aug. 14, 2021 after a change in diocese policy in response to Child Victim Act lawsuits alleging sexual abuse of minors and two other past claims of abuse in 2004 and 2010.

Weider, 85, served at St Thomas the Apostle as an associate pastor from June 1971 to July 1977 then at St. Mary’s in Coxsackie until March 1982. He retired from full-time ministry in 2010 and has recently served as the sacramental minister at Sacred Heart in Margaretville and St. Anne’s in Andes, according to a release from the diocese announcing his initial removal in August 2021. Weider was also the National Chaplain for the National Catholic Committee on Scouting in the early 1980s.

“After an extensive investigation, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany announced today that it will add Father Gregory Weider, a retired priest of the Albany Diocese, to its List of Credibly Accused for ‘reasonable cause’ related to allegations of sexual abuse against minors,” an emailed statement from the diocese said Sunday.

Prior to August 2021, the Albany Diocese did not automatically have its Diocesan Review Board open investigations on CVA accusations, but it did send Weider’s prior two accusations of abuse back to the Diocesan Review Board. Because the diocese was investigating abuse, Weider was put on administrative leave instead of being asked by Albany Bishop Edward Scharfenberger to take a voluntary leave of absence, which was the protocol for other active priests accused in CVA allegations.

“Once he was placed on administrative leave he was no longer allowed to publicly officiate at sacraments, wear clerical garb, or present himself as a priest,” the statement said.

Weider was not the only Albany Diocese priest accused of abuse while serving as Boy Scout Chaplain.

According to diocese records, Weider served as the Diocesan Chaplain for Scouting beginning in 1972 through 1980. His national role with the NCCS began when he was elected to be the Associate National Chaplin in 1980 for a three-year term. According to NCCS bylaws, that position elevates to the National Chaplain automatically for an additional three-year term which he served until 1986.

During Weider’s tenure with the scouts there was at least one claim of abuse against him, but he was not the only Albany Diocese priest accused of abuse to hold the title of Diocesan Chaplain for Scouting.

In 1981 Father James Rosch was appointed by then Bishop Howard Hubbard to be the next chaplain through 1994. He was assisted by Father Charles Gaffigan until 1985.

Rosch was removed from ministry in 2002 and was placed on the diocesan list of offenders in 2015. He is also named in two current CVA lawsuits alleging abuse that took place between 1992 and 1993 at St. Madeleine Sophie in Schenectady and in 1975 and 1976 at St. Joseph’s in Scotia.

Gaffigan has two CVA lawsuits accusing him of abuse in 1974 at St. Michaels in South Glens Falls and from 1992 and 1994 at Holy Infancy in Lake Luzerne.

Hubbard then named Father Joseph Schuck in 1994 to the position.

Schuck was a priest in the Diocese of Brooklyn through 1983 but was put on leave and released by the Brooklyn Diocese. He was then picked up by Albany Diocese and served from 1983 until his removal by Brooklyn in 2003 for abuse in the 1950s and was added to their diocesan list of offenders. He did not, however, appear on the Albany diocesan list of offenders as a priest who was removed and served in the Albany Diocese until 2021 after Spotlight News inquired why Schuck was not on the list.

According to the diocese Weider also served at Blessed Sacrament, Mohawk; St. Anthony, Schenectady; St. Agnes, Cohoes; Holy Cross, Albany; Sacred Heart, Watervliet; and Holy Trinity, Schaghticoke, which was the merger of St. John the Baptist and Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Johnsonville, and St. Monica, Valley Falls.

Announcements will be made in the parishes where Weider served, the diocese said.