Accused Ex-Priest Had Been Barred
Delaware Diocese Defrocked Francis G. Deluca after Abuse-Of-Minors Report

By Nancy Buczek
The Post-Standard [Syracuse NY]
October 22, 2006

A retired Catholic priest charged by Syracuse police with sexually abusing a minor was permanently barred from the ministry in 1993 after his former diocese found he had abused minors there, a representative of that diocese said Saturday.

"It breaks my heart to learn that someone in Syracuse may have been victimized by a removed priest of our diocese," said the Most Rev. Michael Saltarelli, bishop of the Diocese of Wilmington, Del., said in a statement after learning of Francis G. DeLuca's arrest.

DeLuca, 77, of 100 Pastime Drive, Syracuse, could not be reached for comment Friday or Saturday.

Wilmington diocesan officials received a report in 1993 that DeLuca sexually abused a minor in Wilmington in the 1960s. Diocesan officials contacted the victim and confirmed that he had been molested by DeLuca, according to a diocesan statement. The diocese con-

firmed that "about three or four" individuals had been molested by DeLuca in the 1960s, said Bob Krebs, a spokesman for the Wilmington diocese.

DeLuca was immediately and permanently removed from ministry, barred from functioning publicly as a priest and sent for psychological evaluation, according to the statement. DeLuca then was allowed to retire and chose to move to his hometown, Syracuse.

Syracuse police charged DeLuca on Thursday with one count of second-degree sexual abuse, two counts of third-degree sexual abuse and two counts of endangering the welfare of a child, all misdemeanors. The alleged abuse began when the boy, now 18, was 12 or 13 years old and involved hand-to-genital contact, said Lt. Joseph Cecile, speaking for police.

The police investigation began after the boy told his mother about the alleged abuse, and she reported it to police, Cecile said. The Post-Standard does not identify alleged victims of sex-related crimes.

DeLuca is not a priest in the Syracuse diocese, said Danielle Cummings, assistant chancellor and diocese spokeswoman.

The Wilmington diocese shared information about the 1993 allegation with the Delaware Attorney General's Office in 2002. Krebs said DeLuca was not charged with a crime in Delaware, and that's why he isn't listed in Delaware or New York sex offender registries.

Barbara Blaine, president of the national group SNAP, The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, said she's heard many stories of priests who have abused minors in one town and then move and do it again elsewhere. She said she believes church leaders are protecting those priests.

"What's so damaging about that is, unfortunately, the excuses keep leaving more children at risk," Blaine said.



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