A priest who once said homosexuals had to live a “celibate life” to be good Catholics has been accused of molesting a 15-year-old boy at a Bronx church about 30 years ago.
But without a change to the statute of limitations on child sex abuse in New York, the alleged crimes committed by the man of the cloth will forever go unpunished.
Father Anthony Giuliano was running two parishes in Dutchess County — about 85 miles from Manhattan — on Aug. 16 when a 43-year-old man told police the priest had molested him in the late 1980s.
The Archdiocese of New York immediately removed him from the two parishes as the NYPD launched an investigation.
“The allegation has been found to be credible,” Reverend Gerald Walsh, the Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of New York, to parishioners at St. John the Evangelist and St. Charles Borromeo churches, located in Pawling and Dover Plains.
The accuser told Bronx Special Victims Squad detectives that he was working in the rectory of Holy Rosary Church in Baychester between 1987 and 1988 when Giuliano befriended him. The two used to play wrestle, he told cops.
During one session, Giuliano told the teen that he was going to “take him to the back and give him a frontal,” according to police sources.
The teen thought Giuliano was talking about a wrestling maneuver — until the priest told him to lie down on the ground, pulled the teen’s pants and underwear down and molested him, police sources said.
Even if sufficient evidence is found to support the accuser’s claims, New York’s statute of limitations bars authorities from filing charges. Victims of child sex abuse have until age 23 to bring a criminal or civil case.
In June, Albany legislators failed to vote on the Child Victims Act, which would have made it easier for child sex abuse victims to seek justice against their abusers, as well as the Catholic Church and schools. The long-stalled legislation would have created a one-year window for past victims of abuse to bring charges against their tormenters.
The Catholic League called the legislation “a vindictive bill pushed by lawyers and activists out to rape the Catholic Church.”
Meanwhile, investigators are trying to determine if other, more recent victims of Giuliano can be found, police sources said.
The accusations against Giuliano shook residents of Dover Plains, a leafy town of 87,000.
“I’m totally taken aback by this,” said Dover Plains Town Supervisor Linda French. “It’s unbelievable.”
Giuliano said he did nothing wrong.
“This is a shock,” the priest told the Daily News last month when the allegations surfaced. “It never happened.”
When reached Tuesday, he refused to comment. The accuser also declined comment.
In an interview by a SUNY New Paltz student posted online in 2014, Giuliano said that homosexuals should be celibate if they want to be part of the Catholic Church.
“It must be a celibate life like with the priesthood,” he said. “We are celibate for a greater purpose.”
He also questioned Pope Francis’ push to open the Catholic Church to same-sex couples.
“We can’t say this for 2,000 years and then all of a sudden say, ‘Oh, we made a mistake for 2,000 years,’” Giuliano said.
Anne Barrett Doyle, co-director of Bishop Accountability, said the Archdiocese of New York notoriously hides information, preventing a more complete picture of the extent of abuse among priests in the state.
“We know of very few accused priests in New York State,” Doyle said. “We know about more accused priests in the diocese of Manchester, New Hampshire than we do in the Archdiocese of New York.”
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