Syracuse, New York — Most Rev. Douglas J. Lucia, Bishop of Syracuse, has announced that an allegation made against Father Joseph Scardella has been deemed not credible and unsubstantiated by the Diocesan Review Board. The Board is made up of six individuals—five lay professionals and a member of the clergy—who have extensive backgrounds in areas related to child sexual abuse. Bishop Lucia has accepted the Board’s recommendation and has returned Father Scardella to active ministry as Pastor of Holy Trinity Church in Fulton and St. Stephen’ Church in Phoenix, effective November 27, 2021.
Father Scardella was temporarily placed on administrative leave on September 12, 2021, due to a civil lawsuit filed containing an allegation of abuse of a minor. The allegation was reported to both the Onondaga County and Oswego County District Attorney’s Offices who reviewed the claim and found that there were no criminal charges to be filed. They gave the diocese permission to proceed with its canonical process which pertains to the laws of the Catholic Church. A full investigation was completed and presented to the members of the Diocesan Review Board for their review. The allegation was deemed not credible and unsubstantiated.
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 Lucia as to the credibility of the claim to assess the accused’s fitness for ministry.
Bishop Lucia is grateful for the assistance from the District Attorney’s Office, the expertise of the Diocesan Review Board and the full cooperation of Father Joseph Scardella.