Sunday, August 29, 2010

Diocese announces deacon's removal

Diocese announces deacon's removal
Published: 12:03 p.m., Sunday, August 29, 2010
ALBANY -- The Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany announced Sunday that it has removed a deacon from active ministry after determining there were reasonable grounds to believe he sexually abused a minor in the early 1990s prior to his training and ordination as a deacon.

A diocese news release said that the removal of deacon Angel Garcia was made on the recommendation of the diocese's Sexual Misconduct Review Board. Garcia has served as a deacon at the Church of the Holy Family on Central Avenue in Albany and as a chaplain at Greene Correctional Facility. Garcia is now banned from officiating at any sacraments and from wearing clerical garb in public.

The diocese statement said Garcia denies inappropriate contact with any youth.

Garcia's removal from ministry was announced at weekend masses at the Church of the Holy Family.

The statement said the diocese has a zero-tolerance policy for sexual abuse of minors by clergy and 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. The diocese said it investigates all allegations of sexual abuse by clergy.

The Albany Diocese Sexual Misconduct Review Board, which reviewed the allegation against Garcia, is made up of six lay people and two clergy members. It investigates allegations of sexual misconduct by clergy and makes recommendations to Bishop Howard Hubbard on appropriate actions.

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