Priest Suspended after Abuse Allegation

By Josh Wengler
Wayne Independent
April 16, 2012

Carbondale, Pa. —

— The pastor of Our Lady of Mount Carmel was suspended from the ministry late last week pending the results of an investigation of sexual abuse charges from an unnamed Wayne County resident.

According to a press release from the Diocese of Scranton, Rev. Russell E. Motsay was removed from his ministerial duties following the Wednesday, April 11 allegation that he had been involved in sexual misconduct with his accuser in Wayne County when the claimant was a minor.

Having served as pastor of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Carbondale since 1996, Motsay’s prior appointments included serving as pastor at St. Juliana in Rock Lake and at St. James in Pleasant Mount.

He was ordained in 1972.

According to Pennsylvania State Police (PSP) Trooper John Decker in Honesdale, the Diocese contacted PSP and the Wayne County District Attorney’s (D.A.) Office to inform them of the allegation.

“The investigation is active and ongoing,” Decker said, “but no charges have been filed at this time.”

“The state police have interviewed the alleged victim,” D.A. Janine Edwards said Monday, “and the Diocese has cooperated fully with the investigation. The investigation is ongoing at the moment and we will let you know if anything more comes of it.”

Edwards encouraged anyone who thinks they may have information about the case to contact Trooper Decker at PSP Honesdale — (570) 253-7126.

Michelle Minor Wolf, director of the Wayne County Victims Intervention Program, said they were not directly involved in this case. However, she did say if people know something they should come forward.

"It is never too late to reach out for help," said Wolf, noting many cases have come to light many years after the alleged incidents.

She also said if anyone has additional information, they should let officials know.

"If there were others involved, they should contact the authorities," said Wolf.

The Diocese of Scranton encourages anyone who has been sexually abused by a member of the clergy to contact Joan Holmes, victim's assistance coordinator, at (570) 344-5216; or Diocesan officials, including The Rev. Thomas M. Muldowney, V.E., Episcopal Vicar for Clergy, or Teresa Osborne, chancellor, at (570) 207-2216.

“The Diocese of Scranton will continue to cooperate fully with all civil authorities in their investigation of this matter,” reads the Diocese’s press release.








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