Schenectady priest accused of inappropriate conduct with teenage girl

By Mark Mulholland
April 23, 2014

[with video]

BALLSTON SPA - A Schenectady priest is accused of ongoing inappropriate conduct with a 15-year-old girl from Clifton Park.

Rev. James Michael Taylor is a Roman Catholic priest and associate pastor at St. Kateri Tekakwitha Parish.

"I wont have a large family, a big house, fancy cars, or a six figure salary, but at least I can make a difference,"  said James Michael Taylor in a 2007 interview with NewsChannel 13.

Taylor was then studying and working toward becoming a priest.

Five years later he was ordained, while working as a deacon and youth minister at Corpus Christi Catholic church in Round Lake.

It was there that police say Taylor met a 15-year-old girl he's now accused of having ongoing inappropriate contact with.  The incidents allegedly took place between October 2013 and April 2014.

They say he kissed her, called her, and sent her inappropriate text messages and photos.

"Any time you have a position like this and they use that position to groom a child which is the term we might have applied in this situation, we were able fortunately to stop the alleged behavior before it got worse," said Saratoga County District Attorney Jim Murphy.

Saratoga County Sheriff's Investigators arrested Taylor Tuesday night on one count of endangering the welfare of a child.

They held a news conference Wednesday because Taylor has been involved in more than a half-dozen local churches in his short time in the Diocese and they fear there are other victims.

"Father Michael" as parishioners call him, is the also the parochial vicar at St. Kateri Tekakwitha school.

There was no answer Wednesday afternoon at the door of his church-provided home.

The Diocese emailed a statement to NewsChannel 13 saying they've placed Taylor on leave and are cooperating with investigators.

Prosecutors say they look forward to seeking justice for the alleged victim.
"So often we hear about these cases and yet there's no arrest, there's no prosecution, it's just a civil financial settlement that someone gets paid money," said Murphy. "So I think in this case, even though it's a misdemeanor, the sheriff's department chose to go forward and make an arrest and we have chosen to go forward and prosecute."

The charge is a misdemeanor but police and prosecutors believe that Taylor has had inappropriate contact with other minors.

Taylor was released on his own recognizance and is due back in court at a later date.

An order of protection was also issued barring the priest from having any contact with the alleged victim.

Albany Roman Catholic Bishop Edward Scharfenberger placed Taylor on administrative leave immediately following his arraignment.

Other Churches

The following was provided to NewsChannel 13 by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany in response to a question about Taylor's involvement with local churches.

Father Taylor was ordained in 2012 and since then has served as associate pastor of St. Kateri Tekakwitha parish – formerly St. Helen’s Parish and Our Lady of Fatima Parish – in Schenectady.  Prior to his ordination, he lived or served as a seminarian or deacon at St. Isaac Jogues House of Discernment in Watervliet, St. Peter’s Parish in Saratoga Springs, St. Jude’s Parish in Wynantskill, Blessed Sacrament Parish in Albany, and Corpus Christi Parish in Round Lake. He also celebrated Mass regularly at St. Joseph’s Parish in Troy and was involved in campus ministry at Notre Dame Bishop Gibbons High School.


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