Law enforcement officials in Saratoga County have announced the arrest of a Capital Region priest on charges that he had inappropriate contact with a 15-year old girl.
On Tuesday, April 22, James Michael Taylor, a Roman Catholic Priest of the Albany Diocese, was arrested at the Saratoga County Sheriff’s Office on the charge of endangering the welfare of a minor, a misdemeanor.
Taylor, who now serves as an ordained priest in the Saint Kateri Tekakwitha Parish in Schenectady, is accused of engaging in inappropriate conduct with a 15-year-girl from Clifton Park between October 2013 through April 2014.
It’s alleged that Taylor made physical contact with the victim, and also made telephone calls, sent text messages, and photos.
According to law enforcement officials, Taylor met the teen while serving as a deacon and youth minister for the Corpus Christi Church in Clifton Park.
Saratoga County District Attorney Jim Murphy said there may be other victims.
"There may be other victims who had contact with this individual, Mr. Taylor, also known as Father Michael," said Murphy. "But also they're investigating at least two - so far - other young girls who may have had involvement with him."
Ken Goldfarb, communications director for the Albany Diocese, said a woman contacted the diocese with a complaint of the alleged abuse. Goldfarb said the diocese contacted the district attorney’s office. The diocese then forwarded on contact information for the state police and sheriff's office to the complainant, provided by the district attorney's office.
"And as a result of that, the sheriff's department I believe was contacted by the complaitant, they began an investigation apparently, and then the rest followed following the investigation," said Goldfarb.
Goldfarb said Taylor cannot serve as a priest while the matter is pursued at the criminal level.
Goldfarb said the diocese has informed all the diocese and parishes the priest has served in of the charges against Taylor, and said the Albany Diocese has a zero-tolerance policy against sexual abuse regarding children. If the allegations are substantiated, Taylor will be permanently removed from the ministry.
"As soon as the priest involved was arrested on this charge, Bishop Scharfenberger placed the priest on administrative leave. That was done immediately, and again, that follows normal procedure," said Goldfarb.
New Bishop Edward Scharfenberger, who was formally installed on April 10th, previously told WAMC that he seeks to change perceptions of the Catholic Church.
"I think we need a perception of the church, that the church is a fun place to be, is a good place to be, is a happy place... in fact, it's not even a place. It's a community of people."
Murphy said the investigation will continue, and that people with any information should contact law enforcement.