Albany-area priest on administrative leave following allegations
By Rick Karlin
February 08, 2020
|Albany Diocese Bishop Edward Scharfenberger is interviewed at the Catholic Diocese headquarters on Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2020 in Albany, N.Y.|
Photo by Lori Van Buren
Daniel Maher, 81, served in a number of Capital Region parishes
Albany Roman Catholic Diocese Bishop Edward Scharfenberger said Saturday he has placed a priest who retired from active ministry in 2008 on administrative leave following allegations of sexual abuse of a minor in the 1960s and 70s.
The Rev. Daniel Maher, 81, served as pastor of Holy Cross (now All Saints), Albany, from 1994 to 2008; pastor of Sacred Heart (now Immaculate Heart of Mary), Watervliet, from 1973 to 1994; associate pastor of St. Francis de Sales, West Albany (now Christ Our Light, Loudonville), from 1966 to 1973; associate pastor of St. Mary’s, Clinton Heights, from 1965 to 1966, and associate pastor of St. Teresa of Avila (now Mater Christi), Albany, from 1962 to 1965.
Maher denies the allegations, according to the statement from the diocese.
Scharfenberger’s decision came after a preliminary investigation by the Diocesan Review Board, which recommended administrative leave pending the completion of the full investigation.
While on leave, Maher is barred from officiating at sacraments, wearing clerical garb, or presenting himself as a priest.
Maher, born in Ireland, was ordained there in 1962 and joined the Albany diocese a few months later.
Allegations of sexual abuse of a minor were filed against Maher in 2003 and 2005, according to the diocese.
The Diocesan Review Board found “no reasonable grounds” in both cases and Maher remained a priest in good standing, the diocese said.
But in April 2018, a new allegation came in and it was forwarded to the District Attorney David Soares' Office per diocesan policy. Upon release of the case by the District Attorney's office in November 2019, it went to the Diocesan Review Board, which began its preliminary investigation in December and offered its recommendation for administrative leave by mid-January.
The district attorney did not file charges -- the diocese has an agreement to wait to start its own investigation after the DA returns the case to it.
In 2005, protestors had demonstrated for 17 Sundays in front of Holy Cross Church on Western Avenue, alleging abuse by Maher.
The investigation will continue; when a decision has been reached, Maher will either be returned to ministry or added to the List of Offenders (www.rcda.org/offenders), depending on the findings.
In its statement, the Albany diocese urged anyone who as a child was sexually abused by a Catholic priest or deacon to report the matter to a law enforcement agency or to the diocese. To report an incident of abuse or to seek help, contact the diocese’s Assistance Coordinator, Frederick Jones, at (518) 453-6646 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org