A New York priest who in recent years called for gay Catholics to lead celibate lives to remain in “good standing” with the church has been accused of molesting a 15-year-old boy when he ran a parish in the Bronx in the 80s.
The alleged victim, now 43, came forward to police last month to accuse Father Anthony Giuliano, who now heads a church 85 miles outside Manhattan, of sexually abusing him when he was a member of Giuliano’s parish. Criminal charges are unlikely given that the statute of limitations has already run out. However, church officials indicated that the accusation is “credible.”
“The allegation has been found to be credible,” Reverend Gerald Walsh, the Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of New York, to parishioners at St. John the Evangelist and St. Charles Borromeo churches, located in Pawling and Dover Plains.
The accuser told Bronx Special Victims Squad detectives that he was working in the rectory of Holy Rosary Church in Baychester between 1987 and 1988 when Giuliano befriended him. The two used to play wrestle, he told cops.
During one session, Giuliano told the teen that he was going to “take him to the back and give him a frontal,” according to police sources.
The teen thought Giuliano was talking about a wrestling maneuver — until the priest told him to lie down on the ground, pulled the teen’s pants and underwear down and molested him, police sources said.
Giuliano reportedly denied that the attack ever took place after the accusations initially surfaced. He told the Daily News, “This is a shock”, and “It never happened.”
Giuliano and his accuser both declined to comment this week.
In 2014, Giuliano did an interview about “Pope Francis and Gay Catholics” in which he said that gay Catholics should be celibate in order to receive communion and that the church would not change its fundamental teaching on the immorality of same-sex marriage.
“It must be a celibate life like with the priesthood,” Giuliano said of gay Catholics. He added, “We are celibate for a greater purpose.”
As for whether the church would ever accept same-sex marriage, Giuliano said, “We can’t say this for 2,000 years and then all of a sudden say, ‘Oh, we made a mistake for 2,000 years.'”
Watch video of Giuliano make those remarks, below.