Harlem monsignor faces abuse charges

August 4, 2008 4:06:19 AM PDT
For nearly two decades, Monsignor Wallace Harris has faithfully served as pastor of the St. Charles Borromeo Church in Harlem. On Sunday, the Archdiocese of New York removed the popular pastor following two allegations of sexual abuse.

The Manhattan District Attorney's Office is investigating allegations from two people.

Monsignor Harris, who was ordained to the priesthood in 1972, has denied the allegations, which concern actions that allegedly occurred twenty years ago.

He will not be permitted to function as a priest until the Archdiocesan Advisory Review Board has studied the matter and made its recommendations to the Archdiocese.

The Archdiocese issued this statement:

An allegation of the sexual abuse of a minor against Reverend Monsignor Wallace Harris, Pastor of Saint Charles Borromeo Parish, has been received by the Archdiocese of New York. In accord with Archdiocesan policy and the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, the matter was immediately investigated by the Archdiocese and then referred to the Office of the District Attorney for Manhattan. The District Attorney's Office conducted its own investigation, in the course of which it received a second allegation, which it subsequently reported to the Archdiocese. Monsignor Harris has therefore been directed to step aside from his position as pastor and is not permitted to function as a priest until such time as the Archdiocesan Advisory Review Board has studied the matter and made its recommendations to the Archdiocese.

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