Priest Sex-Abuse Case Postponed

By Beth Miller
News Journal [Syracuse NY]
February 14, 2007

A pretrial conference in a child sexual-abuse case against a former Delaware priest was postponed Wednesday in Syracuse, N.Y., and rescheduled for March 5, court officials said.

Francis G. DeLuca, 77, who was a priest in the Catholic Diocese of Wilmington for 35 years, was arrested in October and charged with sexually abusing a Syracuse, N.Y., teen over a period of five or six years.

Syracuse police say DeLuca confessed after they arrested him.

After DeLuca's arrest, Wilmington Bishop Michael Saltarelli released the names of 20 priests against whom the diocese had substantiated allegations of child sexual abuse.

DeLuca's arrest was cited last month by Bishop Richard Malone of Portland, Maine, as his reason for releasing the names of four priests who had been removed from ministry for similar reasons. Their cases have been pending in Rome since before 2002, Malone said, and he wanted the names made public to prevent other offenses. In 2002, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops adopted a new policy of making substantive allegations public.

Malone released the names at a press conference in Bangor on Jan. 27, and also released the names of two priests, both 79, whose cases had been decided by the Vatican. Because of their advanced age or ill health, the men were assigned to lives of prayer and penance.

DeLuca's case is the only active criminal charge against a Delaware priest. Three civil cases are pending in Delaware courts.

Contact Beth Miller at 324-2784 or


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