Church Still Standing behind Busted Priest

By Douglas Montero
New York Post
September 14, 2002

A TROUBLED Catholic priest who was accused of molesting a boy in The Bronx several years ago was arrested by state police on charges of aggravated harassment and stalking of an upstate New York man and his family.

But the real story behind the arrest of the Rev. James T. Tamburrino, 35, is how the hide-and-seek game the Catholic Church played with this suspected sex fiend is now coming back to haunt it, the boy's father said yesterday.

"I knew his deviant behavior would one day get him in trouble again," said Roberto Olivares, who in a March 2000 lawsuit accused Tamburrino and three other priests of molesting his teenage son inside a Bronx church.

"It's like a rapist who attacks three women - he's not going to stop," said Olivares. "If he wasn't strongly disciplined then he's not going to stop. He should've been in jail a long time ago."

State police say Tamburrino's aggravated harassment and stalking charges eerily mirror the allegations in the Olivares' lawsuit, which was settled out of court for cash this year by the Archdiocese of New York and the Carmelite Fathers, the priest's religious order.

Tamburrino met his latest alleged victim, an unidentified Dutchess County man, at a lower Manhattan nightclub called "The Cock."

Between Aug. 19 and Sept. 12, Tamburrino allegedly made "annoying and harassing" phone calls and mailed letters to the man and several members of his family.

Tamburrino was arrested Thursday night and police confiscated a computer, compact discs and digital photographs after searching his home. He remains in jail on a $500,000 bond, investigator Brian Hoff said.

Joe Zwilling, a spokesman for the Archdiocese of New York, declined to comment about Tamburrino, who worked at St. Simon Stock Church in The Bronx until Olivares first accused him in 1999.

The Rev. Michael Driscoll, the leader of the area Carmelite Fathers, said Tamburrino was suspended as a priest in June 2001 because of the lawsuit. At the time, he was living in Middletown, N.Y., and trying to get a job, but was still receiving a stipend from the religious order, Driscoll said.

Asked if the Carmelites would find Tamburrino a lawyer or help him get out of jail, Driscoll said, "The man has no money - we're obligated to do it. I have to take care of my brother - we have to do uncomfortable things sometimes."

Which goes to show these religious folks still haven't learned their lesson.


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