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Retired Priest Put On Administrative Leave Pending Investigation

February 8, 2020

Bishop Edward B. Scharfenberger announced today that he has placed Rev. Daniel Maher, 81, on administrative leave following allegations of sexual abuse of a minor in the 1960s and ‘70s.

The bishop’s decision comes after a preliminary investigation by the Diocesan Review Board, which recommended administrative leave pending the completion of the full investigation.  While on leave, Father Maher is barred from officiating at sacraments, wearing clerical garb, or presenting himself as a priest.

Father Maher, who retired from active ministry in 2008, has denied the allegations.

Father Maher served as pastor of Holy Cross (now All Saints), Albany, from 1994 to 2008; pastor of Sacred Heart (now Immaculate Heart of Mary), Watervliet, from 1973 to 1994; associate pastor of St. Francis de Sales, West Albany (now Christ Our Light, Loudonville), from 1966 to 1973; associate pastor of St. Mary’s, Clinton Heights, from 1965 to 1966, and associate pastor of St. Teresa of Avila (now Mater Christi), Albany, from 1962 to 1965. Born in Ireland, he was ordained there in 1962 and joined the Diocese of Albany a few months later.

In 2003 and 2005, allegations of sexual abuse of a minor were filed against Father Maher. The Diocesan Review Board found “no reasonable grounds” in both cases and Father Maher remained a priest in good standing.

In April 2018, a new allegation was received. Per diocesan policy, it was forwarded to the District Attorney. Upon release of the case by the DA in November 2019, it went to the Diocesan Review Board, which began its preliminary investigation in December and offered its recommendation for administrative leave by mid-January. The investigation will continue; when a decision has been reached, Father Maher will either be returned to ministry or added to the List of Offenders (www.rcda.org/offenders), depending on the findings.

The Albany 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. To report an incident of abuse or to seek help, contact the Diocese’s Assistance Coordinator, Frederick Jones, at (518) 453-6646 or by email at assistance.coordinator@rcda.org

Mary DeTurris Poust