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LaSalette priest serving in Diocese of Albany put on administrative leave

June 2, 2021


In light of information that surfaced when the Diocese of Springfield released its list of clergy offenders June 2, Bishop Edward B. Scharfenberger has placed Rev. Jeffrey L’Arche, a priest of the LaSalette Missionaries and pastor of St. Mary’s Church in Amsterdam and St. Stephen’s Church in Hagaman, on administrative leave, effective immediately. While on leave, Father L’Arche is barred from officiating at sacraments, wearing clerical garb, or presenting himself as a priest.

The Diocese of Springfield’s Misconduct Commission found credible the single allegation of sexual abuse of a minor, which was alleged to have occurred sometime between 1976 and 1981. However, a subsequent investigation initiated by the LaSalette congregation and conducted by Praesidium Inc. found the allegation to be “highly questionable” and, therefore, not credible. As a result, Father L’Arche, who maintains his innocence, has an asterisk placed next to his name on the Springfield list, indicating the conflicting findings. His name, with an identical asterisk and note, has been added to the Diocese of Albany’s List of Offenders, which can be found on the diocesan website at www.rcda.org/offenders.

Born in Guilderland, Father L’Arche was ordained for the Missionaries of LaSalette in 1975. He served on the religious congregation’s ministry team for many years in Hartford, Connecticut; Orlando, Florida, and Holyoke, Massachusetts, before coming to the Diocese of Albany in 1997 to serve as director of Our Lady of LaSalette Shrine in Altamont. He served there until the shrine closed in 2015. In 2016, Father L’Arche was named pastor of St. Mary’s Church and Institute ; in 2020, he took on leadership of St. Stephen’s as well.

Bishop Scharfenberger’s action was taken in accordance with the U.S. Bishops’ Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People and the Albany Diocese’s zero-tolerance policy for sexual abuse of children by clerics.

The Diocese urges anyone who as a child was sexually abused by a Catholic priest or deacon to report the matter to a law enforcement agency or to the Diocese. More information is available on the diocesan web site at www.rcda.org/protectingchildren.