Father Paul Angelicchio returned to active ministry; Diocesan Review Board finds allegation not credible

 The diocese released the following statement Dec. 23: 

   Most Rev. Robert J. Cunningham, Bishop of Syracuse, has announced that an allegation made against Father Paul Angelicchio has been deemed not credible by the Diocesan Review Board. The Board is made up of six individuals — four lay professionals, a member of the clergy, and a religious — who have extensive backgrounds in areas related to child sexual abuse. Bishop Cunningham has accepted the Board’s recommendation and has returned Father Angelicchio to active ministry as Pastor of St. John the Baptist Church and Transfiguration Church in Rome, effective December 23, 2016.   

   Father Paul Angelicchio was temporarily placed on administrative leave on November 21, 2016, due to the allegation of abuse of a minor. The alleged incident would have taken place 27 years ago. The allegation was first made to the Onondaga County District Attorney’s Office which later forwarded it to the diocese after its review. Onondaga County District Attorney William Fitzpatrick, in a recent interview, stated that his office found no proof or evidence of wrongdoing by Father Angelicchio. He added that he found nothing to back up the claim — no physical evidence, no crime, and no corroborating witness. Fitzpatrick said his office determined Father Angelicchio “was not a clear and present danger to any minors.”

   It is important to note that in keeping with the commitment made under the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Diocese of Syracuse must conduct a canonical (church law) investigation into any claim of sexual abuse once it has been reviewed by the appropriate District Attorney’s office. The canonical investigation is forwarded to the Diocesan Review Board which then makes a recommendation to Bishop Cunningham as to the credibility of the claim in order to assess the accused’s fitness for ministry. 

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